By Brian Reed-Baiotto, correspondent
If Saturday morning’s Bronco Invitational at Cal Poly Pomona is any indication, the Glendora High School cross country program is in for a huge season.
The Tartans’ Ryan Sanchez and Micaela Lamb won individual championships and Glendora took both team titles as well. (To continue click thread)
Sanchez beat two-time champion and teammate Mike Duke by just over two seconds when the senior finished at 15:46.6. Duke was second at 15:48.8.
Glendora had six in the top 10, including Jeff Kirwin (sixth) 15:59.7, Oliver Kashyap (seventh) 16:00.6, Damon Payne (ninth) 16:09.7 and Daniel Castro, who finished tenth at 16:10.4.
Sanchez was in the top five the entire course and finished very strong.
“The track was sandy and muddy with more turns, so I’ve had better times, but I am really happy to win the first race of the season,” Sanchez said. “We all pushed each other pretty hard and had a fast pace, so it got pretty tiring at the end. I’m excited to have won it, but just as happy that my team did so well.”
Glendora finished 31 points ahead of second-place South Hills with a 25, the Huskies were second at 56, Walnut third with 95, Chino Hills (171) and Burbank Burroughs (181) finished out the top five boys.
Despite finishing second, Duke was genuinely happy for Sanchez.
“If anyone was going to beat me, I’m glad it was Ryan,” Duke said. “I was in the top two the entire way and Ryan passed me with about 600 meters to go. It just shows how good we are as a team and how hard we’ve worked.”
Don Lugo’s Michael Gutierrez finished 12th at 16:10.9, and Redlands’ Steven Gonzelez’ 16:20.7 was good enough for a 16th-place showing among a 114-runner field.
Lamb, along with Sanchez, had to beat the defending champion to win Saturday and the 15-year old sophomore took away all the drama with her 18:20.6 first-place finish ahead of South Hills’ Danielle Murrietta, who crossed the finish line at 18:25.3.
Lamb led a group of five Glendora runners who finished in the top seven to capture the girls title with 23 team points, which was well ahead of second-place Redlands at 86.
After the race, Lamb took a while to recoup after a challenging course on a very hot day and said her coach really challenged her before the race that she used as motivation.
“I kind of felt like I was racing for second place because Coach Sumner said the South Hills girls were too tough to beat, so I took it as a challenge and am really excited to start the season with an individual and team win.”
Glendora’s Emily Hoey (18:35.4), Cori Harral (18:55.1), Tori Whitworth (19:03.9) and Megan Trono (19:11.6) finished fourth through seventh, respectively to easily hand the Tartans a comfortable team victory.
“We’re really proud of both our team’s here at Glendora and the hard work really paid off today,” Lamb said. “I sprinted towards the end because I saw my coaches and wanted to finish strong, and I think that’s why I had a pretty significant victory.”
Redlands Lauren Zabaleta was ninth at 19:18.7.