The Redlands East Valley High boys and the Yucaipa girls scored huge cross-country victories on Saturday, Oct. 30. The event was the Citrus Belt League finals at Yucaipa Community Park. The REV boys victory allowed the Wildcats to tie Citrus Valley for the league title. The Blackhawks as a team won the first two league meets but the final meet counted double, allowing REV to tie for the title. “I told the kids it’s better to make them share it with you than the other way around,” REV coach Matt Sartori said. “We’re improving at the right time. The (section meet) is what’s really important because that’s how you make it to state.” The REV boys took three of the first nine spots and five of the first 14 to finish with 44 points, just ahead of second-place Citrus Valley with 49. Citrus Valley’s Ethan Romero won the three-mile race in 15:45, but REV boasted Palmer Aguilar in third place (15:50.5), Frank Rodriguez in fifth (16:08.7) and Sean Walker in ninth (16:23.2). Also for REV in its winning effort, Corey Ford took 13th in 16:31.0, and Jacob Ladd was 14th in 16:37.5. Aguilar is a sophomore who, as a freshman last spring, ran about three minutes slower than last week’s effort. The future looks bright for REV as Rodriguez is a freshman and Walker is a sophomore. Besides Romero, Citrus Valley’s only other top 10 finisher was Jake Caliva in fourth place (16:02.1). However, the Blackhawks’ Joseph Gaitan finished 11th (16:28.4), and Juan Montes (16:55.0) and Kalani Daniel (16:55.6) placed 16th and 17th, respectively. Other CBL runners in the top 10 were: Marcus Shin of Beaumont (second, 15:50.2); Cajon’s Vicente Quiroz Jr. (sixth, 16:11.6); Yucaipa’s Xander Merkwan (16:12.3) and Chase Antinucci (16:17.4) who finished eighth and ninth, respectively; and Redlands’ Miguel Paz (16:26.8) who placed 10th. Finishing just outside the top 10 for Yucaipa were Riley Pearson (16:29.5, tie for 12th) and Xavier Cardenas (16:49.0, 15th). Yucaipa placed third as a team behind REV and Citrus Valley with 64 points. Beaumont (96), Cajon (108) and Redlands (133) completed the list. The Yucaipa girls edged Citrus Valley, finishing with 50 to the Blackhawks’ 51 (low score wins). Yucaipa’s highest finisher was Taylor Becker who placed sixth in 19:02.4, followed by teammate Tiffany Terry who was ninth in 19:05.9. But the Thunderbirds also had the 10th place finisher (Kaitlyn Townsend in 19:13.1) and nabbed the 12th through 15th spots. The T-Birds’ Cali Good was 12th in 19:36.3, Savannah Ganter was 13th in 19:38.3, Natalie Zamora took 14th in 19:40.0 and Lea Marion was 15th in 19:48.3. Overall, Yucaipa had six of the Top 15 finishers. REV’s Katie Hornung won the girls’ race in 18:24.9. REV also had a Top 10 finisher in Meghan Walker who placed fifth in 18:52.9. Both are freshmen. “Katie trains hard and is mentally strong,” REV coach Camille Andreas said. “She’s consistent in her training and she runs even splits.” Katie is the sister of former REV running star Matt Hornung. Her parents, Kelly and Jeff, are also runners. Beaumont freshman Hannah Butterfield continues to excel. Butterfield took second in 18.30.4 and was followed to the finish line by teammate Brooke Beaucaire (seventh, 19:03.7). Citrus Valley managed three Top 10 finishers in Hailie Lomeli (third, 18:42.8), Gabriella Romero (fourth, 18:43.9) and Itzel Del Rio (eighth, 19:05). Gabriella is the sister of boys winner Ethan. Finishing just outside the Top 10 was Redlands’ Kathryn Thompson who took 11th in 19:22.8. Next up for qualifiers is the CIF-Southern Section preliminaries Nov. 12-13 at Walnut’s Mt. San Antonio College. The finals are on Saturday, Nov. 20, also at Mt. SAC.
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