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Aztecs run at DSLs

VICTORVILLE • The Barstow boys and girls cross country teams took the trek down to Victor Valley College to compete in the Desert Sky League Finals on Wednesday.

On a beautiful afternoon for a race, the Aztec girls took third place as a team, while the boys were fourth. Running powerhouse Granite Hills was first in both races.

In the boys’ race, Hills was first with 29 points, followed by Burroughs (46), Silverado (50), and Barstow (103). The Granite girls posted 16 points for the top spot, with Burroughs at 44, Barstow at 86, and Silverado at 103.

“I was pleased with our girls' third-place finish. Last year we barely had enough girls to qualify as a team, and the two years before that we had fewer than five girls running,” said Aztecs head coach Mike Pitassi. “So to now have a solid 12 female runners, half of whom are freshmen, and to place third, is extremely promising.”

The three top female Aztec runners finished consecutively. Chyna Irvin led the trio, taking 14th place with a time of 25:52. Right behind was Maria Miranda in 15th at 25:54, while Tatyana Padilla was 16th at 26:38.

The Cougars took the top three spots: Katie Deimling (19:59), Holly Hele (20:20), and Larissa Morse (20:33).

For the Aztec boys, crossing the finish line first was Frankie Baca, in 16th place with a time of 18:40. Cristian Aguirre was 19th at 19:04, and Alex Garcia 21st at 19:18.

Josh Boston of Burroughs was first overall, finishing in 16:09. The Cougars took the next two slots, Noah Oliver at 16:19, and Wallace Jordan, in 16:53.

The Granite Hills and Burroughs boys and girls teams will advance to the CIF Prelims. Silverado had two individuals advance, Carlos Lizama and Chris Cadena.

That brings the season to a close, the first for coach Pitassi. He had a young group to work with this year - Miranda was the only senior - and is hoping that next year the runners will return armed with this year’s experience, ready to make their mark on the DSL.

“We will assess and reflect on our season. We grew in numbers as a team, but we have a lot of hard work to do before we start to see success,” Pitassi said. “We never achieved very heavy mileage this season since we had so many brand new runners, but starting now during the off-season, we hope to increase our mileage significantly and take what we've started and improve upon it.

“I have very high hopes for this young team. We are developing a strong core group of varsity runners who are learning to run together and improve together.”

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