Above: Bishop Amat runner Samantha Cabrera.
By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer
A combination of heat, sand and fatigue made Wednesday afternoon’s Camino Del Rey Association cross country cluster meet challenging and rewarding. While the individual times were a bit down for Santa Fe Dam’s fast course, that didn’t stop a few locals from putting up solid performances in the combo meet that joined the Camino Real and Del Rey leagues.
Don Bosco Tech’s JJ Dominguez and Bishop Amat’s Iliana Velazquez led the way locally in the boys and girls varsity races, respectively. Domin- guez was visibly upset, though, despite taking third with a mark of 16 minutes flat.
“There was a desert part in the middle of the race with a lot of sand that felt like you were actually running in the desert,” said Dominguez, who posted a 15:29 two weeks go on the same course at the Bosco Tech Invitational.
“Even though, I should have done better. I guess I’ll just have to get out here again and do better.”
Dominguez finished behind Bishop Montgomery’s Andrew Cannata (15:51) and Cathedral’s Moises Venegas (15:31).
Dominguez’s teammate, junior Jimmy Granados, also finished in the top 10, earning ninth (16:44).
The first six runners in the boys race all hailed from the DRL.
Cantwell Sacred Heart senior Jason Pang finished seventh (16:26) in the same event, but more importantly was the CRL’s top placer.
“I think I could have done better. It was kind of hot,” Pang said. “The conditions shouldn’t have affected me – that’s running.”
Interestingly enough, Pang beat out his younger brother, freshman Mark Pang (15th, 17:28), who competes for Cathedral.
La Salle sophomore Taft Hulsey (16th, 17:54) finished right behind Mark Pang with the CRL’s second-fastest time.
Bishop Amat’s Kyle Kearney (23rd, 18:54) and St. Paul’s Xavier Bode (25th, 19:19) were their respective teams’ highest finishers.
Amat had a stronger showing in the girls race, where Velazquez, a Whittier native, was the area’s top finisher as she claimed third in 20:04.
“The race was actually pretty hard, especially when you got to the back part and the sand,” Velazquez said. “It’s kind of hard motivation-wise too, because nobody was around me.”
Velazquez finished behind the Bishop Montgomery tandem of Danielle Shanahan (19:47) and Annie Grove (19:55).
Velazquez’s running partner, Amat senior Jennifer Roth, took fourth in 20:34.
Cantwell senior Jennifer Herrera wasn’t far behind Roth, finishing fifth overall (20:47).
“I felt like there was some good competition out there,” Herrera said.
“Some of the faster girls were really pushing me to go faster.”
Herrera’s teammate Alexis Perez also turned in a good effort for 13th place (22:06).
The surprise of the race may have been St. Paul’s Ariel Melendez.
The freshman, who began running a couple months ago, claimed the CRL’s top spot as she finished eighth (21:28) and ahead of team captain Jasmine Barron (11th, 21:48).
La Salle’s Kelsey McAlister was the Lancers’ top girls runner, finishing 14th in 22:19.
Each team will get one more crack at Santa Fe Dam at the association finals on Oct. 31.
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