1999 State HS Meet - Race Summaries

(Richard Gonzalez assisted with statistics,
Doug Speck was responsible for editorial comments)

-by Doug Speck
     The 1999 State Cross-Country was another tremendously  exciting close to the Golden
State harrier campaign, with tons of  thrills (and not too many spills), but a few upsets of the
form  charts along the way to make the day quite interesting.  Amazing  is the ability of
young people to week after week pound the  three mile/five thousand meter distance with real
quality  performances.  Some found it tough to go to the well after a  couple of straight
weeks of top-flight performances, but there  was some super running as the best from ten
sections came togther.  
By the day's close, California's top nationally ranked teams, Don  Lugo (Chino) Boys, and
San Lorenzo Valley (Felton) Girls emerged  with the best team times, with some good
individual racing  described below but a group that will help the Western Foot  Locker team
in the next two weekends with the year ending for a  lucky few at Orlando the second
weekend in December.  

Girls Division II 
     The day started with Girls Division II action, featuring the  athlete many think is the best
in the country in Sara Bei  (Montgomery, Santa Rosa).  Back at third from last year's Foot 
Locker Nationals (with winner Erin Sullivan and runner-up Lauren  Fleshman leading
Stanford in the NCAA's), Sara has had a great  Fall season.  The team contest had Foothill
(Santa Ana), a  program jerked up by the bootstraps over the last year by Coach  Jeff Farr,
emerging early with a national top twenty-five and top  ranking at this level statwide, the
favorite over good Santa  Margarita, Brea, Antioch, and Vacaville teams.  Santa Margarita 
and Brea were coming on strong, with Antioch and Vacaville  developing nicely in their
areas.  Some good individuals would  try to keep Queen Sara company up front.  
     The day broke quite chilly, with quite overcast skies that  later in the day gave way to
sunny and pleasant conditions.  Sara  Bei broke on top, coming by the mile the first time in
view by  the public at 5:23. The team race seemed quite tight, with  Foothill, Santa
Margarita, and Antioch looking good in the early  running.  Janie Nolan, who runs kind of
like Gerry Lindgren used  to with kind of a loose forearm driven arm action,settled into 
second some 21 seconds behind Sara at 11:51 with a mile to go in  the race.  The Foothill
crew seemed to hold on to a narrow lead  as the event came into the finish, with the final
score 92  (Foothill) - 95 (Santa Margarita) - 111 Antioch, with Bei the  sinner 17:25.  
     After the event Sara was talkative, stating that it was  "cold out there, and I kind of
tightened up during the race  because of that. I was out at the mile at a perfect pace, and had 
a good rhythm, but the last mile was not as fast as I wanted."   She said, "I really feel good
going into the next couple of weeks  for Foot Locker."  Sara today joined Deena Drossin
(Agoura) as  the only girl ever to win three State titles, with obviously a  fourth possibility
next Fall.  With constant talk this year of  her attempts to time her seasonal peaks more
carefully, the next  couple of weekends could be interesting.  Sara was four seconds  off of
the Mt. SAC Course Record last year (16:59) on the way to  her Western Regional win
there, with some interesting comparisons  coming up this next week.  Felicia Guiliford (New
Mexico), a very  hot Great All-American Cross-Country Classic winner in September  in
North Carolina, and others (Sara Gorton, Arizonan who was the  Junior National 3000 meter
champ last spring after not making the  Foot Locker Nationals last year, among others) will
be gunning in  the wings!  

Girls Division III 
     Coach Rob Collins, formerly the mentor of a fine program in  Sandy, Oregon, had
dropped into the Felton, California area in  the grocery story business, and luckily for the
running world,  wandered down the local high school to do a bit of running with  the team. 
His first year project was Alejandra Barrientos, who  went from the 2:30's as a half miler to
a super fall Cross- Country season, then a 4:45.02 1600m that had her win state, and  during
the summer win the National Junior 1500 meter title.   Coach Collins indicated he had some
good girls moving up from the  middle school, including Alejandra's sister, with some others
who  could develop.  In probably the best ever one year improvement in  California High
School history with a team, Coach Collins and San  Lorenzo Valley squad this year was
about 10-12 minutes better as  a team time top five group!  They expressed, behind
Alejandra's  leadership, an impressive willingness to get out after it in each  of their big
races, with huge, impressive wins at Stanford and  Mt. SAC against some good competition. 
They were ranked inside  the nation's top ten, and were a big favorite here.  Granada 
(Livermore) was super from the North Coast, with South Hills a  big southern winner over
defending champs La Canada, with  Foothill (Redding) a fine group from the North.  
     Jenny Aldridge (Maria Carrillo, Santa Rosa) was reported the  early leader, with the pack
having Alejandra Barrientos slightly  ahead as they came past spectators near the mile.  San
Lorenzo  Valley, in typical style, had thrown down the gauntlet, with all  their scorers in the
top twenty-five, with the dark-clad Granada  team also out quickly.  San Lorenzo Valley ran
tough the entire  way, with Alejandra Barrientos winning comfortably at 17:37, with  Lauren
Gustafson (Mills) moving up to second at 18:00 over  Aldridge at 18:13.  Raquel Barrientos
backed up her sister with  second in the team scoring at fourth overall at 18:45, with Coach 
Collins' winning crew scoring 43 points.  Granada finished out a  super year with 66 in
second, with Foothill (Redding) surprising  the Southerners with a good race and 99 in third. 
San Lorenzo  Valley's top six are all underclass, with theirs the top team  time of the day
from all divisions.  
     Alejandra Barrientos felt that she had run a good race, and  she knew that Jenny Aldridge
would be tough competition.   The winner stated that she, "threw in a move at the base of
the  hill on the course," that Aldridge did not answer, and that was  where she broke free. 
She had some cramping in her back as the  race went along, but tried to keep it out of her
mind.  A goal  today was 17:00, but she was happy with the win. Barrientos  indicated that
she is really looking forward to next week to try  to qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals. 
With a win over two- time Nationals Qualifier Abby Miller (Nevada) on the tough Mt.  SAC
course in a fine time in October, the SLV flash will be tough  to keep off the team.       

Boys Division II 
     Eureka had emerged at the North Coast Section Meet with a  super tight gap and 19
points!  Santiago (Garden Grove) had their  top three in the 15:40's on the tough Mt. SAC
course in the  South, with La Jolla strong from San Diego.  Talented Augie  Escobar (Villa
Park), an 8:56 3200m runner in track, was the  favorite, with early season burner Matt
McInvale (Ramona) held  back lately with injury.  Puneet Mahan (Norwalk) had pushed 
Escobar the last two weekends.   Eureka, with an interesting  white, green, and red outfit
would be easy to spot in the race! 
     Stuart Eastman (Placer, Auburn), green-haired to match the  school colors, raced along
slightly ahead of Escobar early in the  running, with Eureka looking very strong right from
the start  with all of their scorers inside the top thirty-five of the  race when the field came
by the spectators at the mile mark.   When the field next came back past viewers at a bit past
two  miles it was a pack of Eastman, Escobar, and Girmay Guangul of  Santa Clara, with
Eureka still looking very strong.  Santiago had  its top three in good position, but Eureka's
scorers at that  point had the event swamped!  
     Escobar, very talented, powered in to the win at 15:27, with  Eastman 15:29 and Gualgul
15:32.  The very visible Eureka squad  (I guess those red shorts make you more visible on a
wet, dreary  north coast day!) poured in with its top five inside of the top  thirty-five
undisplaced, with its fifth runner in before  Santiago's fourth, seemly assuring victory.  It
turned out a 56- 119 win for Eureka.  
     Lehrin Morey, number two today for Eureka, spoke for the  team, stating, "Individually,
I was not happy with my race, but I  am very happy for the team today.  I was gone for the
first  couple of weeks of the season, and when I returned I jumped right  in and we were
racing strong.  This is the first ever state title  for Eureka HS in any sport!!" 
     Coach Robert Bode indicated that the special characteristics  of this team that helped them
achieve their ultimate success was  the comraderie between team members and the love that
developed  between the group as they built towards the end of the season.  

Boys Division III
   The Boys Division III contest had a strong group with some  impressive Section Finals
peaks back a week or so.  South Hills  had won over rival Don Bosco Tech in the South with
a super team  time in the 79:30's at Mt. SAC, with Los Gatos very strong with a  seemingly
controlled CCS win, while Granada nipped a strong  Redwood (Larkspur) team in the NCS. 
A good group of individuals  from the leading teams would be joined by Eric Chavez (St. 
Francis, Mountain View) up front.  
     Right from the start this day it was Don Bosco Tech, who  scribe Richard Gonzalez
stated had not really seemed to put it  all together so far this season, out strong and looking 
determined.  Los Gatos also seemed tough early on, with South  Hills and leader Jesse
Hodges (15:20 at Mt. SAC to win the  Southern Section) back a bit.  South El Monte's
Daniel Rojas and  Matt Sartor (Enterprise, Redding) battled with Eric Chavez up  front
through two miles.  Rojas, tough, but with the strong  competition in his area not used to
winning big races, was  toughest over the final half mile to win over Matt Sartor 15:45- 47,
with Chavez finishing tenth.  Don Bosco was tough through the  finish, with Granada having
three in before the Southerner's  second runner (Granada 2-4-9 displaced scoring), but
Bosco's 35  second 1-5 gap was impossible to handle this day, as they won 75- 90 over
Granada.  South Hills was third at 106, with Los Gatos  116 in fourth.  

Girls Division IV 
     This division was a showdown between two of the State's  better programs, Corona del
Mar (Newport Beach) and Nordhoff  (Ojai).  Coaches Bill Sumner (CdM) and Ken Reeves
(Nordhoff) have  rich traditions on both the Boys and Girls side, with CdM the  loser here by
one point last year to Nordhoff at this level.   Corona del Mar had really come out charging
in 1999, with huge  wins all season long against top competition.  Nordhoff is known  for a
steady build and frightening peaks the last couple of weeks  of the season, so anything was
always possible.  Bridget Duffy,  who led St. Mary's (Berkeley) to a section win over a
strong  Campolindo (Moraga) team had a super Section meet run, with fine  frosh Christina
Jiminez of new school, Granite Hills (Apple  Valley), a determined and successful racing
     Nordhoff warmed up in blue uniforms, then switched to black  just before the start, with
Corona del Mar racing in their  traditional black uniforms with a white CdM across the front. 
 CdM was out quickly, definitely ahead of Nordhoff through the  mile, where John Ortega of
the LA Times had it 61-116 CdM with no  displacement.  Christina Jiminez, Bridget Duffy,
and San Dieguito  Academy star Jenna Timinsky rolled along out front, with Rae  Stumbough
of Norhdoff not far behind.  Through two miles Nordhoff  was creeping closer, with CdM
faced with star Liz Morse slowly  fading back from her usual position among the lead
     Nordhoff continued to move, with Rae Stumbough eventually  racing away to the win
18:25-18:35 over Bridget Duffy, but Corona  del Mar did hang together strongly enough to
win 42-55.  
     Coach Bill Sumner, who has coached for eighteen years, the  last eight with both the
Boys and Girls at Corona del Mar.  When  asked the reasons for the success of this year's
group he was  quick to point out the team's great depth.  Nine on the team have  run under
19:38 at Mt. SAC, with frosh Jennifer Long stepping up  today with a fourth place
positioning on the team.  Liz Morse had  started out a bit quick on this day, but the rest of
the team  stepped up as they had all year.  Each big race was approached a  bit differently
this year, with the squad taking aim at the best  squad in their different big races.  They set
out to beat teams  like San Lorenzo Valley and Woodbridge when they ran against  them, a
bit of a different approach than he had tried with  previous squads.  
     Team leader Liz Morse was gracious on a tough day.  Feeling  responsibility as the
squad's leader in almost all their big  races, she stated, "This was one of those 'off' days. 
But the  team came along and picked it up so nicely.  Frosh Jennifer Long  has only run
three varsity races and she was our fourth runner!   This could not have been a better senior
year. We accomplished  all of our goals.  We were ranked nationally, and won the Section 
and State Championships.  Remember, we lost this meet by one  point last year."  It might
have been a good experience for the  team when a sick Morse had to drop out at the Mt.
SAC  Invitational, with Katie Quinlan taking over and leading the  team's charge there also.  

Boys Division V 
     The Boys Division V contest had Coach Ingrid Herskind, the  Coach of last year's
Flintridge Prep champs, trying to go for two  in a row.  Calvary Chapel (Downey), Calvin
Christian (Escondido),  and the great University (San Francisco) team threatened.   Flintridge
runs with a disciplined pack approach, leaving the  front end to others.  Tom Kubler
(Viewpoint, Calabasas), a 9:17  3200m runner, generally shakes up that front end of the
races at  this level, with a sub 15:20 race at Mt. SAC during section  action there!  Frosh
Tim Nelson (Liberty Christian, Redding) had  won the Northern Section overall race, with
soph Henry Hagenbuch  (say it Hagenbush) (Cate, Carpinteria) impressing with a mid-
15:30's at Mt. SAC down South!  
     Kubler was off to the races again, with the tall, purposeful  striding star spreading things
out early on.  Tim Nelson led the  second pack after the first mile, with Flintridge Prep
spread a  bit, but appearing in their blue uniforms ahead of others, with  Calvary Chapel in
an easily viewable maroon, and no one else  really appearing strong as a group.  University
(SF) was strong  up front, with Sean Drake and Ben Good in the top dozen.  As  usual,
Kubler raced away from everyone, here a 15:51 winner.   Flintridge steadily moves up
through people, with here their pack  four in front of anyone else's third on the way to a
69-100-108  win over Calvary Chapel and University.  Flintridge returns four  for next year
with Calvary six and University six also.  

Girls Division I 
     Some really great running would take place here.  There were  some great teams, led by
Woodbridge (Irvine) running an amazing  time in the 93:30's at the Southern Section meet at
Mt. SAC, with  Rancho Bernardo destroying teams in San Diego, and Peninsula also  very
strong.  Anita Siraki had moved to an elite group (of only  four with Julia Stamps, Kristen
Gordon, and Sara Bei) in breaking  17:00 in the Southern Section Finals, with some here
who would  keep her effort honest.  
     Rancho Bernardo has a dynamite foursome in Julie Manson,  Allison Hall, Kaleena Yee,
and Jamie Doyle, with Discus thrower,  that is as good discus thrower, Section placer
Mikaelyn Austin,  the team's fifth runner.  Peninsula was continuing a fine peak  that had it
average a tad over 19:00 at Mt. SAC a week ago, so it  would be a race.       
     A lead pack of Heather Hanson (Madera soph), Anita Siraki,  Julie Allen (Fountain
Valley), and Latesha Jones (Rialto) took  off early.  Rancho Bernardo had four in front of
Woodbridge's  second runner in the early going, so it certainly was a race!   With Siraki
eventually breaking away from the determined Allen up  front to win 17:35-17:42, eyes were
on the team contest!  Julie  Manson (7th overall) and Allison Hall (8th) were never caught by 
anyone from Woodbridge, with the San Diego power three in before  Woodbridge's second
runner. Woodbridge had its five inside the  top forty of the race, with Rancho Bernardo's
fourth in at 27th  (Jamie Doyle).   Through four the displaced total would be Rancho 
Bernardo 22 and Woodbridge 35, with Erin Kredel's 21st for  Woodbridge's fifth (runner's
displaced) taking Woodbridge to a  56-90 win when Mikaelyn Austin emerged 68th after
displacement  for RB's number five.  Peninsula was 115 in third, with the top  three here
deserving ranking among the top fifty in the nation.  
     Coach George Varvas indicated later that he knew his squad  was in trouble early when
he saw four Rancho Bernardo athletes in  front of his second runner.  He had faith in the
strength of his  team members and hoped they could rebound, which they all did.   When
asked why this team developed so very specially during the  season, he replied, "This is the
fourth year for a couple of the  leaders of this team.  They now know what Cross-Country is
all  about.  They are motivated and very hard workers.  This is the  first year that when I
called a workout everyone was there and  they would do whatever I asked of them.  This
team was so very  close, a truly special group."  

Boys Division IV 
     The Boys Division IV had squads of strength from all corners  of the State.  McFarland
had been strong all season long, with an  81:05 on this course the week previous in the
Central Section  Grand Master's meet.  Nordhoff and Oak Park had dog-fights down  South,
with both steadily developing into teams that could  challenge for the title.  Central Valley
(Shasta) and St.  Augustine (San Diego) were good groups, with Riverbank out of the  Sac
Joaquin Section slowly building to a fine peak in their  Section Finals, determined to make up
for end of season 1998  difficulties.  Ryan Hall of Big Bear had strengthened himself on 
Large Schools competition most of the Fall, racing under 15:00  during Southern Section
action at Mt. SAC, with some other good  athletes in the field.  
     McFarland, in mostly white red uniforms trimmed with red,  knows this course like the
back of their hands.  Behind leader  Andres Gomez they were going after their seventh state
title  for Coach Jim White (with Nordhoff also hoping for the same  number, a state record,
for their Coach Ken Reeves).  McFarland  travels statewide to face the best, and they just
were not to be  denied this day.  
     Up front Ryan Hall edged away from surprising Jesse McLeod  (Lassen, Susanville) to
win 15:24-15:31,with Mark Nevers (Oak  Park) first of the favored teams in at third in
15:55.  Roberto  Contreras was eighth overall for Nordhoff, with Andres Gomez  starting the
McFarland charge at 10th (16:07).  McFarland ended  the suspense, with its top four in
before through the other top  team's number three runner, with Francisco Gonzalez 25th after 
displacement, also the top number five runner.  McFarland  totalled 68, with Nordhoff 102,
Riverbank a pleasant 108 for the  third plaque, with Oak Park 123 in fourth.  Riverbank had
stayed  kind of close to home this Fall, with one good CCS Invite run  over a short course,
so they were a bit tough to gauge (excuse  for non-inclusion in rankings?!?).  Anyway, after
what they went  through last year, where after a number ranking early on they had  a ton of
things go wrong.  It was nice to see them on the award  stand this time around, even though
if a fourth place plaque was  ever deserved for a great season, it was Kevin Smith's Oak Park 

Girls Division V 
     Wow!  Another great contest between a number of super  programs!  University (San
Francisco) had won three consecutive  state titles, and behind strong team leader Aliza
Cohen, they  were primed for a fourth.  Chadwick, Northwood, and comer  Maranatha were
hot down South, with Chadwick led by strong  Kriston Cohoon, and Maranatha undefeated
frosh Laura Meyers.   Clara Horowitz of Head Royce (NCS) was spoken highly of from her 
area off her end of season section running.  Alle Porter  (Dunsmuir) had been the overall
champ of the Northern Section! 
     The strong trio of Horowitz, Meyers, and Cohen led the race,  with the contest very,
very close among the top teams.  Laura  Meyers, who is was later determined suffered from
dehydration,  started to fade from the top group after the two mile, and  eventually dropped
out and need hospitalization, although she was  soon okay.  Horowitz, a soph, raced away to
an 18:26 win over  Cohen's 18:38, with Cohoon 18:50 on the team end in third.  Wow, 
what a contest as the squads raced for the tape!  Through three  it was Chadwick 16,
University 21, and Northwood 27, after four  it was Chadwick 31, University 38, and
Northwood 46.  Northwood  had the first fifth runner to total 66, with Unniversity's final 
scorer next with a 59 point team tally, with Chadwick the next  scorer in to total 56 and the
win!  These are some super teams at  this level!  With Laura Meyers finishing up near the
front  Maranatha would have been a part of that great team contest.  The  folks from these
small schools can really run!!!

Boys Division I 
     They saved the best for last on the Boys' side, with Don  Lugo (Chino Hills) dynamite
lately.  Their Southern Section run  averaged in the 15:30's on that tough course, with a
respectable  job here tough to catch.  It was a great year in the sport at  this level, with a
number of teams at or under 80:00 on tough  courses like this and Mt. SAC along the way. 
About six teams  could finish in second and it would not be much of a surprise. It  was sad
that the division was the victim of the most off-handed  and negative situation that this author
has ever seen in the  sport of High School Cross-Country.  After a number of ties in  the
sport in San Diego at the large schools level (four through  the Section meet involving highly
ranked Mt. Carmel, Poway, and  Vista) questions came up over a tie in the Section Finals
that  had Vista lose out on one of the two spots to the state meet on  the sixth runner rule.  It
turned out that the State Advisory  Committee on the sport had suggested taking ties to the
State  Meet, since the starting line at Fresno was never full.  The  motion was passed
unanimously by that committee, with State  entries official Dennis DeWitt of Madera stating
he has a paper  from then State official Margaret Davis from two years ago  stating that the
meet would accept all schools that tie for the  final spot to go to state (with two such schools
competing last  year, DeWitt stated).  One Coach indicated that the ruling did  reach the
paperwork for his Section meet a year ago.  Anyway,  officials involved with the CIF and
Fresno State CC Meet first  ruled that Vista would not be allowed to compete, then ruled it 
was okay (resulting in parents driving five hours on Friday with  uniforms), only to be told
no that they could not run, then the  team was allowed at the starting line and pulled off
fifteen  seconds before the race started!  We have never observed a  stranger example of the
inability of people to make a decision.   The off and on-handed nature of the treatment of the
Vista team  was unbelievable, with a huge explanation necessary that will  never begin to
deal with the hurt of those involved.  As a member  of the State Track and Cross-Country
Advisory Committee who  typically travels to all State Championships at my own expense I 
was absolutely amazed at the seeming lack of investigative effort  that went into this series of
decisions.  The CIF needs to take a  look in the mirror and think about what they are doing
to those  involved.  The Palomar League that Mt. Carmel, Poway, and Vista  was a part of
this year was the strongest group of schools in  State History on the Boys' side.  Those
schools did not arrive at  that level of success without years of sacrifice.  To have the 
situation dealt with in a manner that can only be referred to as  bizarre is kind of beyond
     Anyway, without Vista, but team star Justin Neuroth who  qualified individually (and
with West Hills' Ben Aragon, who  somehow through all of this should have been yanked at
the same  time as the Vista team), the race was off!  Clovis High's JJ  Duke, Travis Laird
(San Marcos, who would end up as one of three  Palomer League athletes in the top seven
individually here!), and  Oswaldo Pina (Lakewood) were the early leaders, with Don Lugo,
in  distinctive uniforms, in good shape teamwise.  Up front it was  the surprising and
consistent Laird who pulled away for a  relatively easy 15:21 win over Katella's Daniel Mejia
(15:31).   Lugo had four in the top twenty-five finishers with a respectable  fifth to appear
the winners.  Poway had a flock in the top fifty,  with Buchanan, with team leader Fernando
Cabada only 17th, also  very strong.  Don Lugo totalled 67, with Buchanan a surprising 
second with 96, and Poway next at 108.  This was a very solid  division this Fall!
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