Chino Hills Flash Cross Country Invitational Recap
- Written on Wednesday, 02 November 2011
- Written by Steve D'Elia
(Youth1) - This past Sunday at Prado Regional Park, the sunshine harriers of southern California put on another great show at the Chino Hills Flash XC Invitational. Prado Regional Park is famous for its recreational pleasantries and being the location of some 1984 Olympic events. This past weekend, some of the country’s most talented teams like the So Cal Roadrunners, South Orange County Wildcats, Millennium Express and Hyperformers took aim at the gold medal of one of San Bernardino counties most highly regarded meets.
Meep Meep! It was an all Roadrunner affair at the top of the division as US #1 Phillip Rocha continued his dominant season, taking 1st place in 13:23. The undefeated distance star has run well under 14 minutes in every race this season, regardless of weather, course conditions or difficulty. Continuing the charge for the Roadrunners was 2nd place finisher and US #9 Austin Tamagno, who ran an outstanding 13:30, averaging 5:26 per mile.
The one-two punch of Rocha and Tamagno has been strong all season, but two additional teammates made huge strides as Martin Ochoa and Alexis Gonzalez finished 3rd and 4th with times of 13:44 and 14:00, respectively. The South Orange County Wildcats had a strong showing in the top 10 despite being without their star runner, Jacob Ogden. David White finished 5th in 14:01, breaking up a sweep by the Roadrunners. Ricardo Sanchez finished 6th overall, with Cameron Knollenberg crossing the line in 7th place for the Wildcats. Closing out the top 10 were Millennium Express’ first three finishers, Burak Tufekci, Ryan Jones and Justin Gadalla.
The boy’s 11-12 race provided a venue for some new faces to make themselves known on the national scene. Chris DePetro won the race outright, churning out a 10:39 3K to take 1st place. The 11-year-old runs for the San Diego So Cal Road Runners (not to be confused with the other “So Cal Roadrunners”) who did not field a full team, but still had a couple of great performers cross the finish line in top 10.
DePetro led a fast field that included two others who finished in less than 11 minutes. Joseph Del Valle from Photon Fast Track Club ran 10:55 for 2nd place, followed by Erik Gonzalez in 3rd for the So Cal Roadrunners in 10:56. The next fleet of runners squeezed through the same doorway, with Mikhail Browne leading the sprint in 10:08 followed by Darium Boamah, Kobe Brown and Melecio Gonzalez all running 11:10. The So Cal Roadrunners’ two-through-five runners rounded out the next four spots, as Gabriel Lucatero, John Munyan, Jose Castellon and Tyler Flores secured a team win.
Ten-year-old Cameron Hylton and nine year olds, Cosar A. Moreno and Ian Dickinson put on quite a show in the Bantam Division race. The youthful trio finished within four seconds of one another, with Hylton able to get just enough separation to win the race in 12:00. Moreno finished a few seconds behind in 12:03, with Dickinson hitting the line in 12:04 for 3rd place. Rounding out the top 10 were Connor Taylor, Jordan Ayon, Micah Harrison, Antonio Diaz, Jack Montesanto, Ryder Yriarte and Owen Young.
US #1 Claire Graves has been making every course in Southern California her own this season and Prado Regional Park was no exception as the youth superstar ran 15:03 to beat a great field by 22 seconds. Claire is still undefeated this season and moreover has done it by herself out in front of the competitive packs. Kelly Fairchild of the Hyperformers ran 15:25 to finish in 2nd place. 14-year-old Amanda Gehrich has been having a great season for the Southern Orange County Wildcats and averaged 6:20 per mile on Sunday for 3rd place. Her time of 15:46 made her the last in a selective group who finished in less than 16 minutes. Lacey Slocumb has also been having great success this fall and kept it going with a 16:04 for 4th place.
Fifth, 6th and 7th place were highly contested in this race as SD So Cal Roadrunners Savannah Santiago and Kaitlyn Umsted battled with Caroline Diaz down to the wire. Santiago kept a lead and finished 5th in 16:13 with Diaz in 6th in 16:16 and Umsted crossing the line in 16:17 for 7th. The rest of the top 10 included great performances from Dianitza Diaz who ran 16:28, Alexis Ramirez in 16:42 and Kelsey Creese who out-inched Wildcat Alaia Cousineau for 10th place with both runners finishing in 16:43.
A duo from the South Coast XC Elite took top honors in the Girls 9-Ten race. Bella Alston made herself the race champion, running 11:41 to finish 1st overall. Her teammate, Madison Dimeco was about 50 meters behind and crossed the finish line second in 11:51. Sabrina Del Bello was the race’s third and final finisher under the 12-minute barrier as she kicked hard to run 11:58. Mikaela Ramirez of the host-team Chino Hills Flash finished fourth in 12:03.
Alex Gushe from the So Cal Roadrunners scored a 5th place finish in 12:08, followed by XC Elite’s Marina McDonough. Grace Staton of the Chino Hills Flash was neck and neck to the finish with Hyperformer runner, Lizette Lopez as both runners ran 12:18, with Staton getting the nod for 7th place and Lopez in 8th. Hazel Groff ran 12:21 for 9th place and Bella Sells shut the door on the top 10 in 12:29 making it race. Bella-issima!
Before the boys had their narrow finish in the Bantam Division the girls did it in style. Nine-year-old Dede Salcedo of the McFarland Track Club outkicked Catherine Garritson and became this years Chino bantam champion. Salcedo broke the tape in 11:42, with Garritson right behind in 11:43. Both girls averaged around 6:17 per mile and blazed a trail for the chase pack to follow.
That chase pack included 3rd place finisher Kezy Farien and 4th place runner Olivia Paez who both ran 12:22 to make the chase for the bronze medal just as exciting. Flash runner Serena Gallegos ran 12:26 for 5th place and the rest of the top ten included Dyaneli Diaz in 12:46, Brianna Valles in 12:47, Jasmine Alexander in 12:48, Lyndsay Umsted in 13:05 and Denie Stark in 13:14.
The Chino Hills Flash XC Invitational was a huge success again this year, as Southern California’s youth distance runners continue to show that the Sunshine State has some of the best talent in the world of cross country.
For more photos of the event, check out socwildcatstrackclub.com. All photos provided by coach and organizer, Darren Phelps of the South Orange County Wildcats.
By Steve D'Elia
"Devoted to Youth Sports"