TRACY — Sierra’s varsity boys and girls cross country teams are in position to seize Valley Oak League titles after both again went undefeated in Tuesday’s cluster meet at Eagal Lakes Resort, but head coach Mike Rosendin believes the best has yet to come from his runners.
The defending champion Sierra girls outpointed second-place East Union 24-31 in going 7-0 for the day, while the boys beat Manteca 23-32. Manteca’s boys earned the VOL title the past four years. The VOL Championships takes place Oct. 28 at Legion-Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto. Winning the invitational-style finale would give Sierra outright crowns, and the girls are seeking their ninth league title.
“The kids have been competing well and working hard in practice and it’s been showing in our races,” Rosendin said. “We just want to keep everything moving forward. For the league final we have got to be closer to being at our best. We haven’t put together our best race yet, so we’d like to get firing on all pistons by then.”
Weston Ranch’s top runners made their league debuts after missing the first cluster meet at Legion Park on Sept. 15. Reigning Manteca Bulletin All-Area Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Iris Carrillo led wire-to-wire on her way to a 19-minute, 34-second finish. She beat the next fastest competitor, Sierra’s Candice Lao (21:16), by nearly 2 minutes.
Lao held off a strong finish from Lathrop’s Terrina Phillips (21:18), who was followed by a trio of freshmen: Kimball’s Talyn Steffens (21:39), East Union’s Julia Vezaldenos (21:41) and Sierra’s Megan Oblin (21:57). Also placing in the top 10 were Lathrop’s Crystal Baltazar (seventh, 22:06), Sierra’s Marisol Hernandez (eighth, 22:23) and East Union’s Kelley Higginson (10th, 22:29).
The area’s top male finishers were Tomas Huerta (first, 17:19) and Alec Araquel (second, 17:27), both of Weston Ranch. Garet Stone (fourth, 17:36), Arish Bala (fifth, 17:47) and Anthony Sequeira (10th, 18:02) paced Sierra. East Union’s Justin Bueno (17:56) outkicked the Manteca tandem of Brett Kovacs (17:57) and Epifanio Estrada (17:58) for seventh place.
Sierra’s Jesse Hurtado (12:41), Sabas Montes (12:42), Cooper Sellers (12:48) and Frankie Leyva (13:04) were the top four placers in frosh-soph boys.
East Union’s frosh-soph girls topped Oakdale 26-29 and were spearheaded by Kelly Ball’s second-place finish (16:50). Jessica Guzman of Sierra won the race in 16:47.
Manteca’s junior varsity girls squeaked past Sierra, 26-29 with Natalia Duran (23:15) leading the charge. Ana Orona (24:34) took second for Sierra.
East Union’s junior varsity boys dominated with its five scorers — led by Philip Agbayani (20:08) and Isaac Avalos (20:22) at 1 and 2 — making up the top six overall finishers.