By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School sophomore Jackson Sutter won the junior varsity boys race at the Southern California Invitational cross country meet Oct. 19 at Guajome Park.
A time of 19:19 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course gave Sutter his first-ever meet win.
“A big confidence booster for him,” said Head Coach Steve Albanese. “He’s made some of the biggest improvements on the team from last year to this year.”
Sutter was one of two Bulldogs in the JV boys race; junior Sam Clough finished 19th in his first race of the season with a time of 20:12.
Four other Ramona runners finished among the top 10 in their races. Albanese put his four first-year runners in the novice races, and Colin McNulty finished third at 19:17. The Guajome Park course was also used for the Valley League cluster meet Oct. 4; McNulty’s time was a 58-second improvement from his race two weeks earlier.
Colton Meskell finished eighth in the novice boys race, posting a time of 19:50. Ramona’s other novice boys race competitor was Adam Ramirez, whose time of 23:11 was worth 36th place.
Ramona’s only novice girls race participant was Nicole Pshsnychniak, who finished seventh. The novice girls ran a 2.75-mile course, although the times were lost during the attempt to upload them onto the Internet.
The Bulldogs’ only girl in the 2.75-mile JV girls race, Holly Trout, posted a time of 22:56 for 20th place.
At one time the Southern California Invitational varsity format pitted the No. 1 runners from each school against each other, all No. 2 runners against each other, and all No. 3 runners against each other while combining the No. 4 and 5 runners in one race and utilizing a single race for the No. 6 and 7 runners. The format has been modified so that the No. 1, 2, and 3 runners compete in the same race.
“It makes the race a little bit bigger,” Albanese said of the new format. “It provides a little bit more competition for the 2 and 3 guys.”
The varsity races for both the boys and the girls were on a 5,000-meter course. In the boys 1-3 race Isaiah Spieker had a time of 16:20, which placed sixth and was a drop of six seconds from his league cluster meet time. Joey Jauregui had a time of 17:15, which was seven seconds faster than his league cluster performance and was worth 26th place at the Southern California Invitational.
Colin Uekert would have been Ramona’s No. 3 runner, had a soccer game not conflicted, so James Meskell was also in the 1-3 race. Meskell finished 35th after completing the course in 17:43.
In the 4-5 boys race, Ben Stein was 19th at 18:00 and Anthony Jauregui placed 24th with an 18:36 performance. Ramona’s only 6-7 race participant was Matt Meskell, whose time of 18:53 made him the race’s 28th finisher.
Only four Ramona girls competed in the varsity races.
“The girls are still very injured,” Albanese said.
In the girls 1-3 race, Perla Cruz finished in 21:38 for 25th place, Elizabeth Schweizer posted a time of 22:25 to make her the 29th finisher, and Chloe Knowd raced for 22:40 and took 31st place. Rachel Brown ran in the 4-5 race and finished 19th at 22:14.
The season’s second Valley League cluster meet will take place Thursday at Kit Carson Park.