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Ripon boys get even with Hughson
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And Ripon High takes the lead.

The Trans-Valley League boys cross country title will come down to the finale on Oct. 27 after the Indians won the second of three conference meets Wednesday at Tuolumne River Regional Park in Modesto.

And they did it decisively, outpointing second-place Riverbank 23-53 with three individuals occupying the top three spots. But the team Ripon was gunning for was Hughson, which checked in at third place with 57 points.

It was Hughson that stunned Ripon by a narrow 32-34 margin in the TVL opener Sept. 8.

Riverbank once again dominated the girls race, with Ripon again finishing as the runner-up.

“The guy wanted to avenge their loss,” Ripon coach Paul Calkins said. “They were extremely focused and worked really hard the last three weeks.”

Hughson was without its top two runners, Ian Brooks and Keaton Crowder. But Ripon was minus Christian Plata, a regular in its top five.

Brooks and Crowder finished second and third, respectively, in the first TVL meet. Ripon ran well enough on Wednesday that it may not have mattered had Hughson been at full strength.

Ryan Torres picked up his second first-place finish in league in 17 minutes, 26 seconds. Not far behind at 2 and 3 were teammates Alec Steinberg (17:35) and Jordan Gibson (17:37), whose times bested Brooks and Croweder’s from the first meet.

Also making a difference were Nick Ratto (19:03), Kyle Bailey (19:07) and Antonio Pelaez (19:33), who rounded out the top 10 in succession. Pelaez didn’t factor into Ripon’s team score being its No. 6 finisher, but he narrowly beat Hughson’s No. 3 runner.

“We only lost by 2 points (to Hughson) last time, and Jordan and Alec weren’t at their best,” Calkins said. “The times that they posted today were significantly better, and the guys on the back end (of Ripon’s top six) really stepped it up.”

The Lady Indians also had their top runners improve both times and finishes. Bekah Brown placed fourth (21:11) behind Hughson standout Becky Hobby and the Riverbank tandem of Mikayla Flores and Adriana Rosales.

Ana Hermosillo (sixth, 22:23), Alexis Keylon (ninth, 22:29), Jessica Carmona (16th, 24:24) and Monica Izaguirre (19th, 25:14) made up the rest of the team score.

Jessica Bettancourt, Ripon’s first female qualifier for the state meet, was out with an injury.

In frosh-soph action, Ripon’s boys edged Hughson 34-37 to double its lead in the standings, while the girls took second to Riverbank, 34-47.

Placing in the top 10 for the frosh-soph boys were: Michael Regalo (fourth), Chuey Calvo (fifth), Lupe Hernandez (seventh) and Pavit Dhaliwal (eighth).

Melanie Reynoso and Samantha Brooks paced the girls squad.