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Ripon in drivers seat for Trans-Valley titles
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Ryan Torres’ string of first-place finishes in Trans-Valley League cross country meets ended Wednesday at Modesto’s Tuolumne River/Legion Park.

No matter.

Ripon High’s varsity boys are well positioned to capture their third straight conference crown after Wednesday’s dominating effort. The Indians outpointed runner-up 30-42, while Riverbank took third with 52.

In the league opener, Ripon needed a tiebreaker to overcome Riverbank. With Hughson helping the Indians add some distance between them and Riverbank, they can take third in the league finale on Oct. 24 and still earn a share of the championship.

“We ran a little bit better, but the big difference in scoring was Hughson splitting up Riverbank finishers,” Ripon coach Paul Calkins said.

Not to be outdone, Ripon’s girls squad is also in line to win the TVL title, scoring 28 points against Escalon’s 38 and Riverbank’s 54.

Torres had won four straight league meets, including all three in 2011, before Wednesday. Hughson’s Zach Morrett beat out Torres, who settled for second in 17 minutes, 14 seconds.

“Ryan is dealing with soreness in his upper hamstring, so we specifically told him not to run too fast,” Calkins said. “As long as he finished first or second I wasn’t worried about it. Our main concern was that we protect him to make sure he runs well in the TVL finals and sections.”

Ripon’s No. 2-6 runners improved their times Wednesday. Alec Steinberg (17:29) was among the top five finishers. He was followed by sophomore Alex Norling (18:06), Antonio Pelaez (18:17), Chris Vitale (18:19) and Kyle Bailey (18:25).

Riverbank standout Mikayla Flores won the girls race, but Ripon’s Jessica Carmona (21:28), Ellie Waters (21:35) and Alexis Keylon (21:50) placed 3-4-5 for their commanding victory. Ana Hermosillo (22:28) and Analisa Reindel (22:36) rounded out the Lady Indians’ score.

“Our girls have been working hard, but their goal is to keep getting better,” Calkins said.

Ripon next competes in the Stanford Invitational this Saturday.