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November 18, 2009 > MVAL, HAAL cross country finals

MVAL, HAAL cross country finals

By Nick Zambrano
Photos By Mike Heightchew

Despite the high winds blowing through Coyote Hills, it was perfect running weather for the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) cross country finals on Thursday, Nov. 12.

All seven schools that form the league were in attendance to capture bragging rights for the 2009 season. However, it was Mission San Jose High School who stole the men's title, while Washington High School was named the victors of the women's title.

MSJ won the men's varsity title with an impressive score of 51 points. Regardless of having only one runner - Evan Dankiewicz - finish in the top five, Mission San Jose was able to hold off the always tough James Logan and Washington high schools.

The Colts fell one point shy of tying Mission San Jose for the win, however, if Logan had tied, the tiebreaker may have gone their way with Mason Hartwell crossing the finish line only nine seconds ahead of Dankiewicz. Washington finished in third place, with 80 points for the meet.

David Brody of American High School set the tone for the three-mile run with his impressive finish of 17 minutes and 25 seconds. Finishing second, and crossing the finish line 30 seconds after Brody was Washington's Ben Rich. Rich finished with a time of 17:55; his teammate Jesse Chesnut followed up with 18:06. Hartwell had a time of 18:19 while Dankiewicz completed a time of 18:28.

On the women's side, Washington had more breathing room as they were crowned league champs, due to a remarkable 41-point finish. Mission San Jose arrived in second place, compiling 51 points, while Logan came in third totaling 61 points.

Washington's own Jessica Gerards blazed through the course with a completed time of 20:42. Fellow Husky Rachel Gerards placed third, 23 seconds behind the leader with a time of 21:05.

Mission San Jose also had a pair of runners crack the top five. Erica Cherk finished in second place concluding with a stretch of 20:55. Following Cherk up was Siwen Dickstien, who landed in fourth place, 26 seconds behind Cherk for a time of 21:21. Jessica Ramirez from James Logan rounded out the top five completing the run at 21:26.

Damp, slippery and muddy were the words to best describe the terrain at Hayward High School last Saturday for the Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) cross country finals. However, that wasn't going stop the Castro Valley High School from taking the spotlight.

Taking first through fifth place and gaining the least amount of points, 15, locked up a second straight HAAL championship for the men's squad. The Trojans' top five runners all crossed the line in a 32-second span. Junior Ben Eversole set the tone, completing a time of 15:30.

Will Weekes followed Eversole's performance with a time of 15:49. Anthony Martore, Thomas Ashby and Erich Coulter rounded out the group that blazed through the rest of the competition the HAAL had to offer. Martore finished seven seconds behind Weekes, completing a time of 15:56. Ashby finished with a time of 16 minutes even, while Coulter followed two seconds behind him. The nearest competition the Trojans had was from Bishop O'Dowd High School, who placed second with 72 points.

For the Lady Trojans, it was a little too close for comfort, as they barely escaped Bishop O'Dowd's clutches, 34-38.

Adding to what was already a close race, both Castro Valley and Bishop O'Dowd had two runners that finished in the top five. Elise Wummers won the meet for Castro Valley with her time of 18:36, while junior Kelsey Santisteban finished five seconds behind her at 18:41. Bishop O'Dowd's pair of Kaitlyn Spees and Page Bisenieks finished third and fifth respectively.

This marks the fourth straight year that the Lady Trojans have captured the HAAL title.

Other noticeable finishes included Moreau Catholic who placed third behind Castro Valley and Bishop O'Dowd. Anika Adeni was Moreau's lone top-10 finisher, she placed fourth and completed a time of 19:29.

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