Aztecs run in big meet
SAN BERNARDINO • The Barstow cross country teams faced a wide variety of competition this past weekend, as they raced in the Inland Empire Challenge at Glen Helen Park in San Bernardino.
The Aztecs ran in the MS, medium-sized schools, division, with the freshman/sophomore and varsity boys and girls teams taking part.
“This is a meet I always look forward to each year. My high school coach Terry Tierney (who still coaches at Rancho Cucamonga High School) organizes and runs the whole thing,” said Aztecs head coach Mike Pitassi. “There is always quality competition and runners tend to really enjoy the course.”
The highest finish for Barstow was by the freshman/sophomore boys, who were fifth among 16 teams with 207 points. Redlands East Valley was first with 30 points, and the first runner of 175 was Redlands’ David Hughes with a time of 16:34.6. First for Barstow was sophomore Alex Garcia, who was 17th overall at 17:36.6. Freshman Cristian Aguirre was 41st at 18:13.8, freshman Angelo Sciortino was 44th at 18:24.3, and sophomore Vernon Sciortino was 55th at 18:46.8.
“I was especially proud of our frosh/soph boys, who placed fifth out of 16 schools in our division. They demonstrated that Barstow is on its way,” said Pitassi. “Typically Geng-Wei Lee is our number-one runner, but he was out sick, so Alex Garcia stepped up and led the squad. In a year or two I can definitely see these young runners putting Barstow back on the map.”
The freshman/sophomore girls placed 14th. Redlands East won this race, too, with 52 points. The first Lady Aztec over the line was Tatyana Padilla, whose time of 23:37.0 put her in 59th place among 118 runners, while Brianna Velazquez was 87th at 25:49.3. Finishing first was Stefani Gaskell of Hesperia in 18:37.0.
The varsity boys race was won by Hemet with 65 points, with Barstow coming in 13th with 347 points. Junior Christian Diaz was first for the Aztecs, finishing 50th at 17:36.8. He was followed by Chase Cobb, 72nd at 18:23.1, and Frankie Baca, 78th at 18:52.0. Burroughs’ Joshua Boston won with a time of 15:30.3.
Hemet was also first in the varsity girls tilt, a race in which some Barstow runners participated, but the team didn’t place as a whole. Chyna Irvin was the leading Lady Aztec, finishing 82nd with a time of 23:03.9; Maria Miranda was 88th at 24:12.7; and Elizabeth Ince was 91st at 25:21.7. Winning the race was Murrieta Mesa’s Taylor Taite who finished in 18:16.7.
Overall, it was a worthwhile day for the young Aztecs. Coach Pitassi was glad to be able to give his team the experience of competing in such a large meet and expose his harriers to some of the best competition in the area.
“It’s nice to get a chance to represent Barstow among all the schools of San Bernardino and Riverside counties,” he said. “We had a great time. Everyone on our team ran his or her fastest time yet this season.”
The Aztecs have one meet left in the regular season, at Silverado today. The Mt. SAC Invitational is coming up Oct. 19, and the DSL Finals are on Halloween at Victor Valley College.