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Aztecs host cross country meet
Four schools compete at Sportspark
BARSTOW • The Barstow cross country teams hosted their only Desert Sky League meet of the 2013 season on Wednesday afternoon. The Aztecs welcomed three other DSL schools - Burroughs, Silverado and Granite Hills - to the Robert A. Sessions Sportspark.
The meet featured four races, one for each of the boys and girls JV and varsity teams. The Cougars captured the top spot in three of the races. Granite Hills won the boys varsity race with 44 points, the girls varsity race with 16 points, and the girls JV race with 23 points. Burroughs was first in the boys JV race with 22 points.
The JV boys had the highest finish for the Aztecs, coming in second with 38 points. The other three Barstow teams all placed third: the varsity boys with 58 points, the varsity girls with 72 points, and the JV girls with 64 points.
The Aztecs are young this year and have a new coach. Jimmy Ortiz was an All-CIF runner himself while in high school, and is spending this season imparting his knowledge to his young harriers. The Aztecs ran at Hesperia prior to Wednesday’s meet, and Ortiz is seeing definite improvement.
“Things are going well, the kids are working hard,” the coach said on Wednesday. “I used Hesperia like a time trial to figure out where all the kids were. Everyone is improving their times and I’m really proud of that.”
There were some nice clockings at the Sportspark. The fastest Aztec runner of the afternoon was Frankie Baca, who completed the 3-mile course in 18:41.59, placing him seventh in the varsity race. The highest placing Barstow runner was freshman Brandon Mora, who was second in the JV race with a time of 20:35.70.
There were three other Aztecs in the top 15 of the varsity race: Geng-Wei Lee was ninth at 18:55.59; Zachary Rucker was 12th at 19:07.57; and Ryan Castro was 14th at 19:14.70.In the JV race, Bryce Carson was eighth with a time of 21:17.00, and Garrett Moon was 10th at 21:26.53.
The top-placing Lady Aztec runner was senior Chyna Irvin, whose time of 27:35.18 gave her the seventh slot in the JV race, while sophomore Evelin Reyes had a time of 26:32.37 for 12th place in the varsity race.
Right on Reyes’ heels in the varsity tilt was Angelique Leatham, 13th at 26:39.65, with Alyssa Sanchez 14th at 27:12.18. Elizabeth Ince, Breanna Velasquez and Veronica Garnica were 12th, 13th and 14th in the JV race.
“I’m proud of how we’re progressing,” said Ortiz. “It can take time to adjust to a new coach, but the kids are responding well to my system.”
“Coach Ortiz brings us a lot of experience and he’s telling us all he knows,” said junior Ashby De La Paz, who placed 18th in the boys JV race. “He’s a CIF champ and he really knows what he’s doing.”
“We’re improving a lot, we’re starting to live up to our potential,” said junior Garett Huston. “I’m dropping a lot of my times.”
Calob Villareal is a freshman in his first year of organized running.
“I’m enjoying it so far. I like track and wanted to try cross country,” he said. “I’m improving a lot.”
“It’s awesome,” agreed freshman Gilberto Avila, 24th in the JV race. “I wanted something to do over the summer, so I started running. I’m glad I chose cross country. The team is doing well.”
There are two upcoming invitationals in which the Aztecs will be taking part. The first is this Saturday, the Lagoon Invitational at UCSB, and the Yucaipa Invitational on Oct. 5.
“We’ve got a ways to go,” said coach Ortiz, “but we’re getting there.”