Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Garcia third at Dana Hills

Fallbrook High School senior Noelle Garcia placed third in the Division I senior girls race at the Dana Hills Invitational September 27.

Garcia had a time of 17:39 on the 3.0-mile course. Alex Dunne of San Clemente High School, who was ranked first in the state, won the race with a time of 16:33 and had the top time of any girl from any division or grade. Heather Balben of Dana Hills High School finished second with a time of 16:54.

“She’s putting herself up there with some of the greatest cross-country runners ever from Fallbrook High School with that performance,” Fallbrook coach Troy Hamlin said of Garcia.

Garcia had a first-mile time of 5:53, compared to 5:38 for Dunne and 5:40 for Balben. “They were moving up front,” Hamlin said.

Garcia was 14th after one mile but had established a strong third-place presence after two miles, which took the Fallbrook senior 12:02 to complete. “She really picked up in the last mile,” Hamlin said.

Garcia completed the final mile in 5:37. “That’s amazing,” Hamlin said. “That’s the way you run successful cross-country races.”

Garcia’s time placed seventh among Division I runners of all grades and ninth among all divisions and grades. She also became the first Fallbrook High School runner to break 18 minutes at the Dana Hills meet since Milena Glusac, who had a time of 17:02 in 1990. “That’s quite an accomplishment,” Hamlin said.

Garcia’s time was 58 seconds faster than her 2007 time on the course. “She’s just getting in really good shape,” Hamlin said.

Garcia had a faster time than Vista’s Michelle Cruz, who finished the junior race in 17:49.

Among all grades and divisions, Dana Hills High School had four of the six fastest times at the meet. “There were a lot of really good teams at Dana Hills,” Hamlin said. “Southern Section teams are always strong, and that’s why we go up there.”

One of those Dana Hills High School finishers ran for Fallbrook High School last year. Kristin Parry, who moved with her family to Dana Hills during the summer, won the sophomore race and had the third-fastest overall time at 17:12, including a first-mile time of 5:42.

The top 50 finishers in each race received medals, and two other Fallbrook High School girls joined Garcia in medaling. Olivia Tidd finished 24th in the senior race with a time of 19:09, which was a personal record by 24 seconds. “She’s beginning to get stronger in the opening mile,” Hamlin said.

Tidd had a first-mile time of 6:13 and was at 13:00 after two miles before completing the final mile in 6:09.

Carrie Jercinovich missed a medal in the senior race, finishing 65th with a time of 21:58 despite racing with a cold and missing practice the entire week prior to the race. Her time beat her 2007 clocking by 19 seconds.

The third Fallbrook medalist was Jessica Jamison, who placed 39th in the freshman race with a time of 20:41.

Fallbrook sophomore Amanda Mulkey had a first-mile time of 6:13, but after approximately 1 1/4 miles her calf tightened up and she pulled out of the race with a suspected strained calf. “Better off to not finish than finish her season off,” Hamlin said.

Julie Cramer was Fallbrook’s top Fallbrook finisher in the sophomore race, completing the course in 20:48 and earning 79th place. Cramer’s time was a 1:24 improvement over her 2007 performance at the Dana Hills Invitational.

Fallbrook’s top junior finisher, Chelsea Carpenter, was battling a cold and collapsed at the finish line. She had a time of 22:49, which was a personal record by 1:38 as well as the 116th-place time.

To comment on this story online, visit


Reader Comments(0)