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Lady Buffs win VOL; Manteca, Sierra boys share

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Lady Buffs win VOL; Manteca, Sierra boys share

Josh Spooner led Sierra to a share of the VOL title with Philip Herrera, background, and rival Manteca on Wednesday.

IKE DODSON/Bulletin File Photo


POSTED October 25, 2012 12:04 a.m.

Sierra High’s varsity boys cross country team edged out Manteca in the Valley Oak League Championships Wednesday at Angels Camp’s Frogtown course, forcing a two-way share of the title between the in-town rivals.

It was still a banner day for Manteca as a program, which locked up outright championships at all other levels — varsity girls, junior varsity girls, frosh-soph girls, junior varsity boys, frosh-soph boys.

“Yeah, we would we have been happier to sweep it (outright), but we’re still champions,” Manteca coach Rick Cuevas said. “How many times has that happen? Can we do it again next year? Probably not, but this was just one of those years.”

It’s the second straight title run for Manteca’s varsity boys, which ended a 24-year drought last season. For Sierra, it’s No. 5 overall and first since 2009. The Lady Buffaloes of Manteca last captured a VOL crown in 1998.

 “I’m real proud of our guys for what they did today,” Sierra coach Mike Rosendin said. “They finally found their potential. They’ve been doing the work but really haven’t the race in league to back up that work. They’ve been running invitationals better than VOL meets.”

Manteca’s boys were in the driver’s seat after winning the two league cluster meets in resounding fashion. On Wednesday, Sierra and Manteca both finished with 35 points. The tiebreaker came down to the sixth-place runner for each squad, and it was Sierra’s Brandon Rogers who came through with the better time.

Timberwolf standout Josh Spooner was the area’s top male finisher, placing second overall in 16 minutes, 46 seconds. Thomas Trzcinski took fourth in 17:21 to join Spooner on the All-VOL team, which is comprised of the top seven finishers. Jonathan Velazquez (eighth, 17:46), Nicolas Dotson (ninth, 17:51) and Aaron Mackey (12th, 18:15) made up the rest of Sierra’s score.

Leading Manteca were all-league performers Philip Herrera (third, 17:17), Brandon Galan (fifth, 17:21) and Marcus Avila (sixth, 17:42). Freshman Trevor Crippen (10th, 17:57) and Seayer Zadran (11th, 18:09) rounded out the Buffaloes’ top five.

Steven Grolle, of third-place Sonora, dominated in 16:21 en route to the individual title. Weston Ranch’s Brendon Curtright took the final all-league spot in 17:44. Lathrop (165) as a team finished fifth, Weston Ranch (180) was seventh and East Union (216) eighth.

Harleen Pabla spearheaded Manteca’s girls squad with a second-place finish in 19:50, trailing league champ Samantha Smith of Sonora by 11 seconds.

“She’s coming on at the right time,” Cuevas said of Pabla. “She ran her heart out.”

Following Pabla for Manteca is all-leaguer Esmeralda Cuenca (fourth, 21:17), Tatiana Jimenez (ninth, 22:244), Claudia Aguilar (12th, 22:44) and Doan Bien (13th, 22:55).

“It was a whole team effort,” Cuevas said. “All of the girls stepped up and did their job today.”

Manteca scored 39 points to runner-up Sierra’s 48. Sierra entered the season as the defending champion. Sophomore Haley Silva placed third (20:49), and senior Patricia Angel took seventh (21:39) to make the all-league team for a second straight season. East Union’s Claudia Arevalo just missed out on an all-league spot, taking eighth in 21:49. East Union (103) ended up fourth, while Weston Ranch (131) was sixth.

Manteca runners won the lower-level races. Matthew Quiroga topped the JV boys field, while Jose Mejia claimed the frosh-soph boys title. Francesca Sommerfield was the top finisher in JV girls, and Blake Lamoreaux took first in frosh-soph girls.

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