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Riverside County Cross Country: My Site News: Vista Murrieta / Xavier Prep Hit The Podium - Mendoza Up to NXNs  

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Last updated
03-26-14 12:30 PM
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Mark Gardner
(951) 529-1056
1152 Athlone Court
Corona, California
Vista Murrieta / Xavier Prep Hit The Podium - Mendoza Up to NXNs

Updated Thursday, Dec. 8 
To show you how a season can truly be judged by how successful you are in November, we witnessed several examples of teams and individuals truly putting it together when it counts most!  After not being ranked in the Top 10 for CIF in early September, to not even winning their league title, Vista Murrieta's girls put it all together at the right time and took 2nd place for Division I!  With every week, this group gathered more confidence and after finishing 4th place at the previous week's CIF Finals, despite their #2 not finishing, they were ready to step onto the podium!  Led by Erika Reddish's 17:59 4th place effort, fellow senior Nicaela Hernandez was able to finish in the top 25, admirably rebounding from the CIF Finals illness.  Meanwhile, moving back from Connecticut in late September, junior Sarah Benson was the true sparkplug for this group over the last eight weeks. 

In the Division V race, Xavier College Prep was able to live up to the rankings and finish with a solid 2nd place effort!  Catapulting themselves up to the podium in only four years, we suspect that they will be around for quite sometime!  Sophomore Valeria Ruiz ended her season with her best race yet, finishing in 18th place with a 19:32 time.  Six girls return for the Saints in 2012!  Head Coach Aron Lyons has done a great developing a program, that competes in the large schools-laden Desert Valley League, to statewide prominence.  Meanwhile, their boys took a solid 5th place in the boys Division V race.  They were the only Div. V program with both teams in the top 5!  Senior Tommy Paz ended an outstanding career with his 16:12, 13th place performance.      

Our top boys team, Great Oak, was right in the thick of the competition throughout that incredible Division I Boys race.  But, in the end, they settled for 4th place and recorded one of the fastest team times at the state meet of any team in Riverside County History.  They were led by senior Michael Hewitt, who came in with a 15:40 clocking.  Coming off of the 2010 CIF and State Championships, Great Oak's girls were looking to defend those titles.  But, here in 2011, it was not meant to be.  Graduating a strong contingent in 2010, they definitely put together a great season here, but fell short of defending their Div. I state title.  Led by senior Pauline Mandel, they still managed to finish 7th here and be amongst one of the best squads in the state.   

Meanwhile, JW North's Mariel Mendoza capped off one of the greatest prep careers here in Riverside County with a eye popping 17:39 runner-up finish in that incredible Division II girls race!  In the fastest race ever in state meet history, Mendoza rose to the occasion and moved up to 2nd place to lead the chase group (chasing Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter who was 30 seconds ahead) at the two mile mark.  With confidence growing with every stride, Mendoza held off the field to roll to an outstanding 17:39, which ties Liza Pascuito's 2002 mark for the 2nd fastest time in county history for the California State Meet.  In moving forward and compete at the Nike Cross Nationals next weekend, Mendoza becomes a first girl to qualify for that meet (ML King's Lane Werley, competing in 2009 and 2010 is our only boy). 

Centennial senior Adriana Olivas capped one of the greatest careers in Riverside County history with her 5th place finish, in a time of 18:05.  With her traditional aggressive first mile, she led the race at the mile mark but was unable to keep pace with the leaders over the last half of the race.  Meanwhile, moving up from 18th place with a mile to go, Corona sophomore Alicia Williams kicked it into gear with 1200m to go and finished 8th place in a nice time of 18:11.  Her teammate, Venus Shabgahi, fighting a cold, was unable to move up on the field that last mile and settled for 24th place in a time of 18:38.  In the Division V girls race, Alexia Velerde of Marywood-Palm Valley, out in Palm Desert, took the early lead in that first mile, and made her way to the podium with her 4th place finish (18:39).  Our top freshman this season ended up being Linfield Christian's Jackie Crowther who came on strong here in November with her 18:59, 11th place effort.      

For the boys individuals, Vista Murrieta junior Porter Reddish recorded the fastest time of any Riverside County boy with his 15:33 effort.  He placed 15th in the Division I competition.  Meanwhile, Norte Vista junior Omar Caro, just missed the podium with his 15:37, 11th place effort in the Division II race. 

*Porter Reddish (Vista Murrieta) 15:33
*Omar Caro (Norte Vista) 15:37
-Michael Hewitt (Great Oak) 15:40
-Brenden Emery (Great Oak) 15:57
-Eddie Carrillo (Great Oak) 16:03
-Kevin Chamberlain (Great Oak) 16:04
-Tommy Paz (Xavier Prep) 16:12
-Brandon Messerly (Great Oak) 16:14
**Emery Caster (Xavier Prep) 16:33
*Nathan Velarde (Great Oak) 16:34
*Isaiah Thompson (Sherman Indian) 16:35
*Jack Balder (Great Oak) 16:35
*Chris Spinney (Xavier Prep) 16:45

-Mariel Mendoza (JW North) 17:39 (tied for #2 Riv. Co. all-time state meet)
-Erika Reddish (Vista Murrieta) 17:59
-Adriana Olivas (Centennial) 18:05
**Alicia Williams (Corona) 18:11
-Pauline Mandel (Great Oak) 18:27
-Nicaela Hernandez (Vista Murrieta) 18:35
-Venus Shabgahi (Corona) 18:38
-Alexia Velarde (Marywood-Palm Valley) 18:39
*Sarah Benson (Vista Murrieta) 18:53
***Jackie Crowther (Linfield Christian) 18:59
*Kim McNamee (Great Oak) 19:00
-Maria Hurtado (Vista Murrieta) 19:08
*Brooke Evans (Vista Murrieta) 19:09
-Carly Bauer (Great Oak) 19:23
*Miranda Kewley (Great Oak) 19:26
**Valeria Ruiz (Xavier Prep) 19:32
**Ashley Helbig (Great Oak) 19:34
***Alexis Santhanam (Vista Murrieta) 19:43
*Alexis Messerly (Great Oak) 19:44
-Areanna Suarez (Xavier Prep) 19:53
*Bethany Belady (Vista Murrieta) 19:54
*Meg Lizza (Xavier Prep) 19:56
***Julia Dalecio (Xavier Prep) 19:57
***Maiya Larsen (Great Oak) 19:58

Riverside County Cross Country
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