By Leonard COUTIN
CV High School hosted the 49th Annual Kenny Staub/ John Barnes Invitational Cross-country Meet on Saturday on their home course at CV Park. Conceived by former Glendale High School Coach John Barnes, the meet typically attracts local talent as well as some of Southern California’s best runners. But this year many top athletes were noticeably absent, having to sit out the meet for strategic reasons.
“We are taking a group to the Clovis Invite on Oct. 8,” explained CV Head Coach Mark Evans. “We don’t want to race our varsity too often [but want] to keep them fresh for the end of the season.”
Coach John Peebles of Burroughs High was one who decided not to run his team in the varsity Division 1 race.
Attendance was also lessened by SAT testing scheduled for Saturday morning. Burroughs’ stellar female runner Emily Virtue was one who sat out the invitational to take the exam.
Evans decided to combine the boys’ Divisions 1 and 2 races for the first time.
Despite these changes, the Invitational still produced some outstanding results. Leo Oliva of Highland High School, located in Palmdale, ran a time of 16:04.99 to win the varsity boys combined race and teammate Hershel Smith captured third (16:19.66) to improve over his time last year of 16:44.38 when he placed 13th.
But it was the Saugus boys who shined. The team won the varsity race with an outstanding score of 29 – far under the competition. Taking the first position for Saugus was Boon Andrews who captured second place running 16:07.41. Juan Enciso grabbed fourth (16:26.00) followed by Kobe Serrano (16:27.22). Luke Wilke took eighth (16.33.81), CJ Westenhofer placed 10th (16:37.26), Albert Serrano took 15th (16:50.97) and Ethan Ross secured 16th (16:53.44).
At the end of the day the course record still stood that was set by Jeff Nelson in 1978 running 14:49. Anita Siraki of Hoover has held the girls’ record since 2000 running a time of 17:18.
Many of the Falcon JV stepped up and ran well in the varsity race. Matt Brunner took 17th running 16:55.56 and teammate Kevin Faeustle took 18th running 17:05.49. Other points came from CV’s Carter Walch placing 26th (17:22.46), Grant Bolstad in 32nd (17:28.06), Henry Mencia in 33rd running 17:30.43, Charles Pingry taking 35th running 17:31.24 and Jon Yoon at 39th running 17:50.12.
Final team scores: Saugus 29, Claremont 53, Highland 79, Burbank 121, CV123, Golden Valley 144, Valencia 190, West Ranch 202, Knight 283.
“I thought we ran very well,” said Evans of the boys’ performance. “Our goal was to keep the group together. Our gap from our one to five runners was 35 seconds, which is excellent. We had all seven runners in within 55 seconds.”
The Saugus girls also earned a team win with strong performances. Saugus’ Mariah Castillo won with a time of 18:08.53 followed by teammate Kaylee Thompson (18:23.18). Golden Valley junior Aylin Gonzalez took third running 19:21.6, followed by Saugus senior Jakee Victoria (19:23.09) and junior star runner Caitlyn Couch from Bell-Jeff (19.24.66). This was Couch’s first time running in the Division 1 race.
Falcon points were scored by Melissa Owens running lead point for the team capturing 24th (20:38.31), Sophia Atin in 32nd (21:02.00), Gabriela Borraez in 40th (21:32.90), Jacqueline Bau 46th (22:02.38), Sojeong Kang 57th (22:45.78) and Saya Linney 72nd (24:15.91).
“The girl’s team ran very well. They keep getting better,” said Evans. “This was the best time most of them have run this season.”
Note that Canyon and Flintridge, among others, did not have their top runners at the meet.
Final team scores: Saugus 25, Claremont 70, Burbank 123, La Cañada 142, Bell-Jeff 198, CV 199, Highland 211, Golden Valley 218, Flintridge Prep 227, Knight 234, Canyon 267, Valencia 269.
To see more photos by Leonard Coutin, visit www.cvweekly.com/SPORTS.