Warrior girls fall to Vista in league cross-country opener
Last updated 10/11/2007 at Noon
Fallbrook High School’s girls cross-country team was defeated in its Avocado League opener September 28, losing to Vista by a score of 24-32.
Fallbrook’s Noelle Garcia crossed the finish line first and the race also was the first on the “new” course which had been used in previous decades, but Fallbrook coach Troy Hamlin cited the non-racing activity as the meet’s top moment.
“Perhaps the highlight of the whole meet was the sportsmanship displayed,” Hamlin said. “It was just a tremendous display of sportsmanship by both teams.”
The meet was Fallbrook’s first league meet since boys cross-country coach Marty Hauck died of a heart attack September 19. “The girls and the boys as well all ran with much courage,” Hamlin said.
The Vista runners provided the Fallbrook harriers with gifts as tokens of their recognition of Fallbrook’s grief. The Vista girls brought gift bags while the Vista boys provided their opponents with bottles of Gatorade. “The Vista kids wanted to do something for us, and we appreciate that very much,” Hamlin said.
The girls course reverts to the 4,315-meter distance, which equates to approximately 2.67 miles. The course also has two hills which are repeated during the run. “Both courses are tough courses,” Hamlin said of the girls course and the boys’ 5,000-meter course.
Vista entered the meet ranked fourth in the county while Fallbrook was ninth among the county’s girls cross-country teams. “We ran extremely well. We ran as well as we have in the past four years against them, and I was very pleased with what the girls did out there,” Hamlin said. “There was absolutely nothing that was disappointing.”
Garcia’s time of 16:42 placed her ahead of Vista runners Michelle Cruz, who is the defending CIF San Diego Section 800-meter champion, and Alicia Barrajas, who ran the mile in 5:10 during track and field season and was a CIF finalist. “It was a huge breakthrough race for Noelle,” Hamlin said.
“She went with the lead group,” Hamlin said of Garcia. “She made a move on the hill.”
Although the next three runners across the finish line wore Vista uniforms, Briana Lopez finished fifth at 17:24. “I was very pleased with the intensity with which she ran,” Hamlin said.
Freshman Kristin Parry (who is not related to Walt Parry, the boys cross-country coach who preceded Hauck) finished sixth in her first dual meet with a time of 17:27. “She and Briana ran together and switched positions several times during the race. They pushed each other,” Hamlin said. “They just pushed themselves out there and they did a nice job.”
Lopez and Parry achieved their task of finishing ahead of the fourth and fifth Vista runners. Leslie Grantham placed ninth at 17:54. “She gave another solid performance,” Hamlin said of Grantham.
The positions of the top five runners from each school are added for the team score, and while a school’s sixth and seventh runners are not scored those runners can add positions to the opposing school’s top five runners. Vista’s sixth runner finished one second ahead of the fifth Fallbrook runner, Olivia Tidd. Tidd, a transfer from Calvary Chapel in Vista, finished 11th in her first Division I dual meet race with a time of 18:04.
Tidd was not eligible to compete in varsity races until the CIF had processed her hardship transfer paperwork, but Hamlin received the confirmation of Tidd’s eligibility four days before the first league meet.
“I’m happy with the whole group,” Hamlin said. “We thought it was a fitting meet. Coach Hauck would have loved it.”