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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Wildcats open cross country season with a win


Last updated 10/22/2018 at 9:40am

The first North County Middle School Cross Country League meet of 2018 was contested Sept. 20 at Woodland Park Middle School in San Marcos, and Sullivan Middle School won the race for sixth-grade and seventh-grade girls.

Cross country team scores are derived by adding the positions of a school’s first five finishers; the sixth and seventh runners are not scored but can add points to other teams' totals. Sullivan’s sixth-grade and seventh-grade girls finished with 58 team points. San Marcos Middle School, which took second place, had 93 points.

“I knew my girls would finish high,” Sullivan coach Tamara Miller said.

Last year both Sullivan’s sixth-grade and seventh-grade girls and the Wildcats’ eighth-grade girls won the North County Middle School Cross Country League championships. Five of this year’s Sullivan seventh-grade girls competed last year, including Ashley Fawcett, who ran in other races but missed the championship race due to a cold.

“I definitely had a pretty strong team coming back,” Miller said.

Those five runners do not include Avery Lynas, who is a seventh-grader this year but ran in the eighth-grade race.

“Avery runs better if she has competition around her,” Miller said.

The Woodland Park course was 1.55 miles. Ashley Purcell of San Elijo Middle School in San Marcos was the individual winner with a time of 10 minutes 9 seconds. Sullivan seventh-grader Abby Peterson finished second at 10:11.

“Abby was right with her at the beginning of the race,” Miller said.

Purcell eventually established a slight lead and was able to maintain it.

Sullivan seventh-grader Rori Gartner had a time of 10:16 for third place. Miller is counting on Peterson and Gartner to challenge Purcell at the league championship meet.

“Rori is just as strong,” Miller said. “I’m looking to finish 1-2 in that race.”

The first three San Marcos finishers placed fifth, ninth and 10th.

“I could tell it was between us and San Marcos,” Miller said.

The third Sullivan finisher, seventh-grader Anay Garcia, finished 14th overall with a time of 11:00.

Three first-year Sullivan runners were the next Wildcats across the finish line. Jordynn Rogers is a sixth-grader this year and had a time of 11:07 for 14th place.

The Khoury twins are seventh-graders and first-year runners. “They’re going to work really well together,” Miller said. Sahara Khoury placed 23rd at 11:19, and Maya Khoury had a time of 11:21 for 25th place.

“I knew with Jordynn and Sahara coming pretty close behind Anay that we had it,” Miller said of winning the team portion of the race.

Fawcett completed the course in 11:23 for 27th place. Ava Papoulias, who is also a seventh-grader, obtained 38th place with an 11:45 performance.

Miller said that her objective for the initial race was to assess her runners. “Winning was an extra bonus,” she said.

The race for sixth-grade and seventh-grade girls included 14 Sullivan harriers, although two of those did not finish.

Sullivan’s eighth-grade girls placed second as a team. San Elijo had 52 points, the Sullivan runners totaled 67 points and Diegueno Middle School of Encinitas had the third-place score of 97 points.

“I was thrilled they got second,” Miller said. “Only three of my girls have ever been a part of Sullivan cross country. I just really wanted to see how well we came out of this race.”

Lynas is one of those three veteran runners. She took third place with a time of 9:49. Maya Papoulias, who last year was in seventh grade and ran with the eighth-grade team, finished fifth in her first race as an actual eighth-grader and completed the course in 10:06. Mikayla Gioia, who had not previously run cross country, took ninth place at 11:01. Ariel Adicoff, who was with the sixth-grade and seventh-grade girls last year, had the 35th-place time of 11:52. The 38th-place finisher, Samantha Amador, posted a time of 11:58. Alexis Martinez had the 55th-place time of 12:30. Jordyn Williams finished the race in 14:12 for 78th place. April Johnson was the 79th of 100 finishers and had a time of 14:13.

Sullivan’s sixth-grade and seventh-grade boys accumulated 135 points for third place in that race. Martin Luther King Middle School of Oceanside won the race with 66 points, San Elijo had 85 points and San Marcos was fourth with 146 points.

“Third place for the 26 schools is a success,” Miller said. “I was thrilled.”

Eight of the 20 Sullivan runners finished in the top 50 of the 245-runner field. Wilson Christopherson had a time of 10:16 for 22nd place; Jacques Rogers posted the 26th-place time of 10:19; a time of 10:24 gave Devin Huntington 30th place; Fisher Phillips was the 34th finisher and had a time of 10:27; Beckett Payne completed the course in 10:32 for 38th place; Austin Nord took 42nd place with a time of 10:39; Lucas Adams earned 44th place with a 10:40 performance and Sam Vanni was 50th at 10:47.

“It’s a good start for them,” Miller said.

That gave Sullivan third place or better in three of the day’s four races.

“Our team goal is to bring home a trophy for each race,” Miller said.

Sullivan only had five runners in the eighth-grade boys race where the Wildcats placed sixth as a team. Ashton Strange finished 25th with a time of 9:55; Jayelon Rogers posted a time of 9:56 for 26th place; Shawn Sidley finished in 10:02 for 36th place; Carlos Lobatos placed 59th at 10:26 and Michael Bailey was 119th among the 137 finishers with a time of 13:27.

This year’s Sullivan team has 53 runners, including six who were not able to participate Sept. 20.

“It's increasing every year,” Miller said.


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