East County Sports

Mustangs racing to top of rankings

2021 PREP CROSS COUNTRY

 

ECS staff report

CHULA VISTA —- A pair of strong cross country teams that were not expected to challenge for a CIF championship may just be proving the experts wrong following stellar performances at Saturday’s (Sept. 1) Ian Cumming / Tim Latham Invitational held at Rohr Park.

The second annual meet is a combination of what once were the Mustang Invitational and South Bay Invitational, both popular early-season events. The re-worked event is named for a pair of respected Metro Conference coaches.

The boys’ competition was captured by rising Otay Ranch, which placed its top five runners among the top 12 finishers. The Mustangs entered the week rated third in the section, but now may challenge for the top spot.

Meanwhile, Grossmont upstaged East County kingpin Steele Canyon for a third-place finish in the team standings.

The Foothillers saw Russell Blakely place third in the individual standings, while teammate Ian Rosen was fifth. Just missing a top ten placement was the Hillers’ Joshua Edwards in 11th. All three are juniors.

Steele Canyon’s best finisher was Bradley Bell, who nipped teammate Juan Pablo Arredondo for 16th.

Surging Eastlake dominated to easily capture the girls’ varsity run of 2.5 miles at Rohr Park, romping over Scripps Ranch and Otay Ranch.

For the second straight week, the medalist was Kenan Pala of Francis Parker. who earlier took the event at Canyon Crest. Pala, who covered a relatively flat 2.5-mile Rohr course in 15:16,  is considered an early contender for the CIF state meet

Otay Ranch also took the JV meet with a rare perfect score of 15.

Girls

East County teams struggled, with Steele Canyon placing fifth, while Grossmont nipped Granite Hills for seventh among the 15 teams.

Point Loma’s Sophie Compton earned medalist laurels for the second consecutive invitational, winning by more than 44 seconds in a clocking of 15:30.

Suhey Arce out of Grossmont was the best Grossmont District finisher at 15th overall. The only other top 20 runner was West Hills’ Taya O’Harran in 19th. Both are sophomores.

In the girls’ Division II (small school) varsity race, East County runners fared quite well, led by medalist Bethany Mapes of Liberty Charter. The senior won in 16:34, seven seconds better than Winter Moritz from team champion Our Lady of Peace.

Other top East County finishers were senior Jessica Bakken of Julian (11th) and sophomore Samantha Tompkins of Monte Vista (22nd).

— Nick Pellegrino

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