Cats, Cents pick up wins in meet

West Ranch’s Pre­ston Pope leads team to first vic­tory

The Signal - - SPORTS - By Ryan Pos­ner Sig­nal Staff Writer

As West Ranch’s Pre­ston Pope and Canyon’s Ethan Dan­forth ap­proached the fi­nal 50 yards or so of the sec­ond Foothill League cross coun­try meet Thurs­day af­ter­noon, mere inches sep­a­rated the two.

Dan­forth, who won the first league race, looked to have the edge as he be­gan to box Pope in to­ward the side bar­rier at Cen­tral Park.

But Pope (15 min­utes, 23.50 sec­onds) with­stood the jostling near the fin­ish line to over­take Dan­forth (15:23.91) to win the race and lead West Ranch to a one-point vic­tory over sec­ond-place Canyon.

“I’ve played bas­ket­ball most of my life, so that didn’t re­ally af­fect me,” Pope said of Dan­forth try­ing to box him out near the fin­ish line. “That was prob­a­bly the most fun race I’ve ever been in.

“Dan­forth’s a great com­peti­tor and we were go­ing at it all race. That’s what we love about this sport.”

Pope, who ac­knowl­edged that was prob­a­bly the clos­est race he’s ever been in, im­proved on a fourth­place fin­ish from the first league race when he bat­tled sick­ness. The Wild­cats were able to win the meet after a third-place fin­ish in the first race.

“When the boys lined up, I told them, ‘Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate any­one, but don’t let them un­der­es­ti­mate you, ei­ther,’” said West Ranch coach Sara Soltani. “I think that fired them up.”

Not much changed for the sec­ond girls race. Sau­gus’ Mariah Castillo (17:17.12) cruised to an­other first­place fin­ish while team­mate Jac­que­line Cas­cione (17:56.15) placed sec­ond after a third-place fin­ish in meet No. 1. Sau­gus’ Mackenna Park (18:30.78) took third place.

“Def­i­nitely felt a lit­tle more con­fi­dent com­ing into this one but didn’t re­ally feel any ma­jor dif­fer­ences,” Castillo said. “It was nice to see Jac­que­line im­prove and fin­ish sec­ond. As a team, I think we did much bet­ter.

Sau­gus won its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive girls league race while West Ranch

and Valencia fin­ished sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively, once again.

West Ranch closed the gap a bit, though, los­ing by 14 points Thurs­day com­pared to a 35-point de­feat in the first race.

Sau­gus was ham­pered a bit in the boys race as its top run­ner, Boon An­drews, lost his shoe mid-race and fin­ished with­out it. Sau­gus fin­ished third fol­low­ing a sec­ond­place fin­ish in the first race.

West Ranch’s Isa­iah Sei­d­man also lost a shoe dur­ing the race and fin­ished 26th.

Valencia’s Bri­tain Reynolds fin­ished third in the boys race (15:29.69) fol­lowed by West Ranch’s Evan Bates (15:38.88) and

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