Hopes were high for the North Monterey County Condors after winning two Monterey Bay League Center meets this season, but even before the race started things did not go their way.
San Benito sprinted to the finish with four runners coming in the top ten to win the MBL Gabilan team championship over second place Seaside 43-54.
North Monterey County received the bad news that their top runner sophomore Freddy Torres would miss the championship run because of an illness earlier in the day.
Torres had finished ninth, third and seventh in the three center meets helping the Condors to their two victories
Head coach Gustavo Ibarra explained that his team needed to bounce back from their loss to San Benito in the final center meet, and while senior Humberto Barraza (fifth, 16:36.2) and junior Oscar Mora (seventh, 16:45.6) finished in the top seven, San Benito rolled to the team title.
“We were feeling good coming into today,” Ibarra said. “It was a close one, but you win some and you lose some.”
Monterey’s James Welsh finished in the top spot at 15:52.2 for the individual MBL Gabilan championship.
Pajaro Valley had to finish ahead of Christopher to qualify for the Central Coast Section meet at Crystal Springs cross country course in Belmont, which will take place Nov. 16, and thanks to top finishers Jorge Conda and Zachary Davis the six-man team will make the trip in two weeks time.
Conda finished in third place with a time of 17:43.9 and Davis was three spots behind him in sixth at 18:14.1.
“The race felt good,” said Conda the senior soccer player turned cross country runner. “It feels even better to go to CCS in my first year in cross country. I think we’re going to do well.”
His friend, and top Watsonville runner, Anthony Ramirez was looking for a solo trip to CCS, but a foot injury, which has lingered since the last MBL Pacific Center meet, forced him to finish towards the back of the pack.
He placed in third in the Center meet leading up to the final.
“It’s a tough way to go down,” said Watsonville coach Tony Roman.
The Wildcatz finished in fifth place, one spot behind Pajaro Valley.
Their first runner to cross the finish line was Erick Flores in 14th at 18:54.
Palma won the MBL Pacific team championship 37-52 over Gilroy.
Gilroy had beaten Palma in the final Center meet by 27 points.
Jorge Sanchez finished in first (16:35) for the individual title.
Monte Vista Christian was sixth.
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