MODESTO – Under hot and smoky conditions, the Sierra boys won the small-schools division and the Sierra girls were third on the 5-kilometer course in the 13th Annual Sierra Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Legion Tuolumne Regional Park.
The Timberwolves had a 2-3-4 finish in the small-schools boys division led by Garet Stone (seventh overall, 17 minutes, 20 seconds) and followed by Anthony Sequeira (ninth overall, 17:30) and Arish Bala (10th overall, 17:36).
“The start was a bit fast,” Stone said. “That is to be expected. You have to get out fast on this course.
“The race went pretty smooth. We had a good pace up in the front and eventually we spread out.”
Sierra’s Candice Lau was third overall (21:02) and second in the small-schools girls division with teammate Diana Cruz (22:23) finishing seventh in the small-schools and Jessa Johnson (23:26) ninth to help the Timberwolves girls finish second in their division.
“It was a really hot day,” Lau said. “But we were able to race under these hot conditions. I know there was a fire up in Amador County which made the air really bad. Regardless, we were still able to put on a race and run well.
“I felt good about my race. There were a lot of girls who started really fast but we kept our pace. After I found that front pack I was able to base my pace off of them and keep going until the last mile where I was able to start catching up to people.”
Ripon Christian was fifth in the small-schools girls and was paced Brittany Bloemhof (24:27) with a 14th-place division finish and Alysia Templeman (24:29) who finished 15th.
“It was really difficult at first,” Bloemhof said. “Since we are a small school, a lot of the teams are faster than us so it is easy to get caught up in the speed but once I found my pace it was a lot easier.
“I felt happy with my time. I beat my previous time here and that was my goal.”
Lathrop’s Juan Diaz (18:14) just missed a top-10 finish in the small-school boys, finishing 11th and helping the Spartans finish fifth. Teammate Joey Ormonde was 12th (18:26).
It was hard, but we pushed through it,” Diaz said. “I don’t think I got a good time.”