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Girls cross-country 11th at CIF meet


Last updated 12/15/2006 at Noon

Fallbrook High School’s girls cross-country team finished 11th among the 22 Division I teams at the CIF meet November 18 at San Diego’s Morley Field.

“I was really happy with the way they ran today. They really ran to their potential,” said Fallbrook head coach Troy Hamlin. “It was a great day for us.”

The Warriors had placed fifth in the Avocado League meet November 11, and four of the ten teams who placed ahead of Fallbrook were from the Avocado League. “There were only two teams that weren’t from North County Conference that were even ahead of us,” Hamlin said.

Torrey Pines, which is in the Palomar League, won the CIF Division I meet. Vista and Carlsbad, both of which are Avocado League schools, took the next two positions.

The top three Division I teams advanced to the state meet. On the boys side Rancho Buena Vista, Vista, and Fallbrook took the top three positions, giving the Avocado League five of the six Division I berths at the state finals. “That shows a dominance, a county-wide dominance, of the Avocado League,” Hamlin said.

Palomar League schools Rancho Bernardo and La Costa Canyon placed fourth and fifth at the girls meet, followed by Avocado League teams El Camino and Rancho Buena Vista. Patrick Henry and Chula Vista placed eighth and ninth while Escondido of the Valley League was tenth.

Each team can enter up to seven runners in the CIF finals and the top five finishers are scored, although a team’s sixth and seventh runners can move opposing runners back another position. The top Fallbrook runner was Amy Hansen, who had a time of 18:44 on the 2.75-mile course and finished 50th.

“She just ran a great race today,” Hamlin said of Hansen. “She just did a very nice job running that number one spot today.”

Hansen was one of two Fallbrook seniors whose high school cross-country careers ended with the CIF meet. The other was Alex Nygren, who finished fifth among Fallbrook runners and 82nd overall with a time of 19:34. “She had a very solid race,” Hamlin said of Nygren.

The respective times of the two seniors and the three Fallbrook runners finishing in between the seniors translates into a 50-second pack for the Warriors’ top five runners. “They’ve learned to run off of each other,” Hamlin said.

Fallbrook’s second finisher was Leslie Grantham, a junior in her second cross-country season. Grantham’s second CIF meet produced a course personal record of 19:04, which gave her 59th place. “She just has continued to improve all season long, and she has really learned how to run cross-country,” Hamlin said.

Sophomore Noelle Garcia placed 64th with a time of 19:12. “She did a great job as well, held it together,” Hamlin said.

Junior Briana Lopez was 68th after crossing the finish line at 19:19. “Briana was tough out there today,” Hamlin said. “She held it together and ran a respectable race.”

Fallbrook’s sixth finisher was Cassie Mulkey, a junior who transferred from North Carolina and is new to the team. Mulkey placed 117th in her first CIF San Diego Section meet with a time of 20:37. “I’m proud of everything she has contributed to this team,” Hamlin said. “She’s come into her own as a runner.”

Sophomore Carrie Jercinovich’s first CIF meet produced a time of 20:49 and 122nd place. “I’m really proud of Carrie,” Hamlin said. “She rose to the occasion and she finished strongly.”

Hansen and Nygren are not expected to continue their cross-country careers in college, as both have chosen schools for academic reasons rather than for a reasonable chance to compete on the college cross-country team. Hansen plans to attend Brigham Young University and Nygren is expected to attend Northern Arizona University.

“They had a great high school career,” Hamlin said of his seniors.

Five of Fallbrook’s seven CIF runners are expected to return for the 2007 season. “I think that this team is on the upswing and we will continue to improve,” Hamlin said.

The failure to advance to the state meet brings an end to Fallbrook’s 2006 season. Hamlin, who completed his 17th year as a Fallbrook cross-country coach and his fourth year as the head coach, said that this year’s team was one of the most sportsmanlike, unified, and caring teams he has had.

“Everything came together, and we just had a great time,” Hamlin said.

Although Hamlin is the girls head coach, he works with boys head coach Marty Hauck, girls assistant coach Tim Hauck, and boys assistant coach Marco Arias. “When it comes right down to it, we’re all head coaches and we’re all assistant coaches,” Hamlin said. “We all work together. We all make the decisions.”

Sharing the credit didn’t prevent Hamlin from capturing the pleasures of the 2006 girls season. “This has been a very, very enjoyable season for me,” he said. “I credit the girls and their families and the community.”


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