The SGV’s last League Finals meet was held on the flat but soggy and muddy 3-mile course at Legg Lake. The Del Rio League has some of the deepest and best competition all year, and this meet did not disappoint, with several strong individual performances and great team battles. Here’s a (slightly augmented) recap from California Coach Tony DiMarco:
Defending champion Bailey Henry (El Rancho) led the girls race through the first 800m (2:38) and 5:42 through the mile, opening about a 100 meter lead on Marylu Pulido (Whittier) and Justine Romo (California). Bailey never faded and won in 18:00 while Pulido (18:27) finished second and Romo (18:39) was third.
The team battle was everything it was billed to be as Whittier had the early lead at the mile over CAL and El Rancho (36-38-42). At 2 miles Whittier was still holding with EL Rancho and CAL now tied (36-45-45). Whittier fell back late and El Rancho held on for the victory and league title 40-46 over CAL while Whittier finished third. The three CIF teams took all the spots up front. El Rancho, with three in the first ten, was led by Henry and soph Anna Galacia 4th/19:07. CAL had four up front, their best was Romo and Justice Navarro 7th/19:27, while Whittier was led by Pulido and Melissa Carabes 5th/19:20. Vanessa Mares 11th/19:37 was best for Pioneer, and Danielle Garcia 12th/19:56 lead Santa Fe. Fourth placed La Serna was paced by Itzel Moreno 14th/19:59.
In the boys race, a tight pack held together through a very slow 4:56 opening mile. Aaron Mora of Whittier led from the start, only to give up the lead to La Serna’s Michael Munoz with a quarter mile to go. Hanging on, Mora stormed back to pass Munoz in the closing meters to win in an excellent 14:55. Munoz ran 14:59, followed closely by a tandem of Santa Fe runners Kevin Ramirez (15:01) and Christian Garcia (15:10). Munoz will advance to CIF as an individual.
The team battle looked to be a two horse race between defending champions California and El Rancho. CAL led through the mile 44-48 over El Rancho but the tables turned at 2 miles with EL Rancho taking a commanding 43-59 lead into the final mile. Santa Fe, third best all year, closed well over the final mile and nipped CAL at the finish 63-65. El Rancho wins their first title in two years, breaking CAL’s 8 meet league win streak. Pioneer, without a senior in their team, was paced by soph Jonathon Trejo 24th/16:32.
Photos courtesy of Tom Guerrero of Say Cheese Photography