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Liberty Charter’s Micah Sanchez wins state cross country

The on-going incredible saga of Liberty Charter High School senior Micah Sanchez continued at last Saturday’s California state cross country championship meet in Fresno by winning the Division V boys individual championship.

Sanchez (15:13.8) won in commanding fashion with an 11-second margin over Menlo senior Justin Petre (15:24.6).

Sanchez traded in his first-place finish at the Division V section finals on Nov. 12 at Morley Field for a first-place medal at the state meet two weeks later to continue his amazing season He had hoped to break the 15-minute barrier as one of the favorites in the race.

The Liberty Charter runner was one of two San Diego runners to place among the top seven individuals in the race, joining Francis Parker junior York Bourgeois (seventh, 15:39.5).

Sanchez previously had finished eight seconds ahead of Bourgeois at the section finals.

Sanchez pulled away on the course’s lone hill with about a mile to go in the race to claim victory without a challenge.

Section champion Liberty Charter placed seventh among the 24 scoring teams at the state championship meet with 240 points. Francis Parker was eighth with 287 points. Liberty Charter finished 44 points ahead of Francis Parker at the section finals.

Calvin Christian, the third San Diego team to qualify for the state meet, finished 17th in Fresno with 399 points.

The Alpine-based Lions placed three runners in the top third of the 204-deep field.

Senior Gabriel Gastelum finished 64th in 17:16.1 while junior Joel Bray was 67th in 17:16.3 to join Sanchez at the front of Liberty Charter’s five scorers. Sophomore Aiden Burr placed 197th in 20:39.8 while classmate Nathan Banks was 201st in 21:01.0.

Crystal Springs Uplands won this year’s Division V boys title with 73 points while Menlo was second with 77 points. Yosemite finished third with 120 points.

Eastern exposure

The Grossmont Conference qualified four teams to this year’s state meet.

Grossmont finished ninth in the Division II boys team standings with 284 points among the 24 scoring teams while Steele Canyon was 12th with 346 points. Santana finished 18th among 25 scoring teams in the Division III boys race.

Grossmont seniors Russell Blakley and Ian Rosen crossed the finish line in back-to-back fashion in 15:48.9 (31st) and 15:49.4 (32nd) to lead East County runners in the 202-deep race.

Grossmont senior Joshua Edwards finished 61st in 16:18.1 as the Foothillers’ No. 3 runner while Steele Canyon senior Bradley Bell led the Cougars with a 64th place-finish in 16:19.2.

Steele Canyon senior Dominic Rizzo finished 76th in 16:28.6 while Grossmont senior Mason Coyle was 87th in 16:38.3.

Steele Canyon sophomore Micah Senn was 93rd in 16:40.2 while senior teammate Juan Guzman placed 100th in 16:43.7. Senior Juan Pablo Arredondo rounded out the Cougars’ five man scoring contingent in 111th in 16:54.8. Sophomore Loan Reyes rounded out Grossmont’s five scorers in 150th place in 17:29.6.

Grossmont had finished five points ahead of Steele Canyon at the section finals as the two Grossmont Hills League rivals had finished one-two in the division standings.

Senior Jayson Oliver was the top Sultan across the finish line in 50th place in 16:24.6. Senior Connor Cheary finished 92nd in 16:58.6 while junior Vincent La Bruno was 98th in 17:002. Other Sultan scorers in the 215-deep race included senior Cameron Thomas (157th, 17:44.9) and junior Trevor McDonald (173rd, 17:59.1).

Besides the four team qualifiers, four individuals also qualified for last weekend’s state meet.

Monte Vista seniors Finn Mc- Clure (44th, 16:20.3) and Steven Valadez (204th, 19:07) competed in the Division III boys race. Mt. Miguel junior Garrett Cloyd finished 54th with a time of 16:32.5in the Division IV boys field while El Capitan senior Amber Chase in the 212-deep girls Division III race finished 88th in 20:04.9.

Cloyd had finished third at the section finals while McClure was fourth and Valadez was sixth in their division. Chase was 16th in her division.

Besides the two division individual champions, the San Diego section also recorded two runner-up individual finishers: La Costa Canyon junior Gioana Lopizzo (17:41.5, Division III girls) and La Jolla freshman Chiara Dailey (17:27.3, Division IV girls).

Cathedral Catholic held off University City 128-30 to engineer a two-three section team finish in the Division III girls race.

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Source: East County Californian

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