By Joe Naiman
The second Valley League cluster meet of the cross country season was held Oct. 31 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, and the three Ramona High School teams with enough runners to obtain team scores all placed third.
“We are getting better across the board, boys and girls,” said Head Coach Steve Albanese.
This year the North County Conference replaced league dual meets with league cluster meets involving all six league teams. The first meet was held Oct. 4 at Guajome Park. At that meet Ramona’s varsity boys took fourth among the six teams, and the junior varsity boys were third among the four teams with enough JV runners to obtain a team score. Neither girls’ team had the minimum five runners to obtain a team score, which is derived by adding the positions of a school’s top five finishers.
Ramona’s top finisher at the Guajome Park meet was Isaiah Spieker, who placed sixth in that 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) boys varsity race. Spieker’s time of 16:43 on the 3.0-mile Kit Carson Park course gave him fourth place in the Oct. 31 varsity race.
Joey Jauregui finished the varsity race in 17:17, which was worth 17th place. Colin Uekert placed 22nd at 17:35. Ben Stein was 26th with a time of 18:11. Anthony Jauregui had a 28th-place time of 18:18.
Ramona’s 88 points tied with Orange Glen. In cross country a tie is broken by the position of the sixth finisher. James Meskell had a time of 18:24 to take 29th place and finish ahead of Orange Glen’s sixth runner, thus giving third place to Ramona. The positions of a school’s sixth and seventh finishers are not included in a team’s score but can add to another team’s score. Ramona’s seventh finisher, Eric Syzmanski, had a time of 18:25 to place 31st.
Orange Glen was without its top runner, Andrew Tellames, who was rested due to an injury.
“It was still nice to move up and beat another team,” Albanese said.
Ramona had four varsity girls in the Oct. 4 league cluster and six girls in the Oct. 31 varsity race.
“Not all of them are fully healthy, but they’re coming back,” Albanese said.
The girls course Oct. 31 was 2.7 miles. Perla Cruz, who finished 17th Oct. 4, repeated her status as Ramona’s top finisher while placing 13th overall with a time of 19:15. Rachel Brown was 18th at 19:48, Elizabeth Schweizer had a 20th-place time of 19:54, Chloe Knowd became the 22nd finisher 19:59 after the start of the race, Anna Sundrud placed 25th after a 20:06 performance, and Elyse Harlan finished 27th and posted a time of 20:22.
The girls had a team score of 86 points.
“They ran well as a team,” Albanese said. “They didn’t pack run, but they ran with teammates. I think that helped them out a lot.”
The race was Sundrud’s first since Sept. 21 and Harlan’s first since Sept. 13.
“It was really great to have them back,” Albanese said. “They still have a lot of room for improvement.”
Ramona’s junior varsity boys totaled 54 points. Jackson Sutter and Danny Edwards had times of 18:31 with Sutter placing third and Edwards taking fourth place. Colin McNulty had a time of 19:07 for ninth place. Colton Meskell took 18th place after a 19:42 performance. Chance Hardin had a time of 20:20, which gave him 29th place. Adam Ramirez was 34th at 20:54. Angel Perez finished 37th with a time of 21:01.
In the Oct. 4 race, Edwards placed eighth and Sutter was 13th overall as well as the second Ramona finisher.
Three Bulldogs ran in the girls JV race. Lucia Hernandez finished seventh with a time of 21:28. Nicole Pshsnychniak placed eighth at 21:45. Aixa Garcia-Cedillo had a time of 25:54 and took 24th place.
Albanese didn’t place an emphasis on time difference between the Kit Carson Park race and the Guajome Park league cluster four weeks earlier.
“I don’t compare times with the other course,” he said.
“This course is actually a lot slower pace-wise,” Albanese said of Kit Carson Park. “It’s more grassy.”
Albanese instead compared finishing positions. Eighteen of his 22 runners had higher positions at the Oct. 31 meet than at the first league cluster.
“We’re moving in the right direction as a team,” he said.
The junior varsity league championship race will take place Friday at Kit Carson Park.