TRACY — Minus two of its top runners, East Union’s varsity boys cross country team did not break stride Wednesday as it distanced itself from the rest of the pack in the Valley Oak League.
Led by sophomore Johnny Sandoval, the Lancers outpointed their rivals at Eagal Lakes Resort to remain on pace for a third consecutive title. They achieved another all-levels sweep, as the junior varsity and frosh-soph teams also went undefeated for a second straight league meet.
Weston Ranch freshman Janiah Basco had a strong varsity debut in the girls competition that was otherwise dominated by Oakdale.
Sandoval was also the top finisher in the league opener at Ripon’s Mistlin Park. He clocked a time of 17:30.1 seconds Wednesday, edging out Sierra’s Axel Rios (17:31.2). East Union is still without 2018 state qualifier Marco Perez as he works his way back to eligibility, and Maury Ortiz was held out with a leg injury.
East Union still had no trouble dispatching both Oakdale and Sierra with 20-41 scores. Oakdale squeaked out a 27-29 win over Sierra to remain in second place for the season. Sierra defeated Manteca, 22-34, while the Buffaloes picked up victories over Central Catholic, Kimball and Weston Ranch.
The Lancers took three of the top-five overall finishes, with freshman Alex Cuevas (18:13.6) and sophomore Cooper Freeman (18:16.6) placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Weston Ranch’s Jorge Machuca followed in sixth with East Union’s Abel Zuniga coming in seventh.
Oakdale’s girls blew out their nearest competitors, Kimball, 18-39 as Kayden Legan (22:02.4), Hannah Beth Norman, Haleigh Humble and Kassidy Fmura finished 1-2-3-4 overall.
Basco trailed the herd of Mustangs in 22:41.8. Manteca’s Emilee Craighead placed 10th. Sierra, led by 11th-place Sabrina Caldwell, outpointed Manteca head-to-head 22-33 for third place.
The VOL Championships takes place Oct. 30 at Oakdale Reservoir.
Even with several underclassmen competing for the varsity team, East Union managed to strengthen their positions atop the frosh-soph and junior varsity standings.
Evan Cooper, Devin Peterson and Antonio Zavala made up the top three in order for the 2.1-mile frosh-soph boys race. Fellow Lancers Taylor Snaer and April Duarte were 1 and 2 in frosh-soph girls. Details of the JV competition were not available as of press time.