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Vikings boys take second at Hamilton cross country meet

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The seven small K-8 elementary schools and middle schools in northern San Diego County and southern Riverside County participated in athletic tournaments with a different school hosting a different sport each month. They met in Anza for a March 9 cross country meet which was hosted by Hamilton Elementary School and based at Hamilton High School.

The Vallecitos Elementary School boys placed second with Vallecitos sixth-grader Gerardo Moreno taking second place among the individual boys. “We did well,” said Vallecitos Coach Ray Hanbeck.

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. Cottonwood Elementary School, (Aguanga), had the first-place boys score of 33 points. “They had a really good group of younger kids, too,” Hanbeck said.

Vallecitos accumulated 46 points. Julian Junior High School placed third with 56 points.

Although there was a girls race along with a boys race, Vallecitos had no girls. The Vikings had nine boys, although one of them was unable to run due to a foot problem, so only eight competed. The Vallecitos runners consisted of six sixth-graders, one fifth grader, and one fourth grader.

“I’m really proud of these kids,” Hanbeck said.

The course was 2.0 miles. Julian eighth-grader Kaleb Baker was the first individual finisher and had a time of 13:16. Moreno finished in 13:29.

“I’m expecting him to do even better next year,” Hanbeck said.

Last year when Baker was in seventh grade, he had the fourth-place time of 15:06. Moreno finished the 2022 race in 16:25 for 14th place.

Adan Villa of Cottonwood had the third-place time of 13:41. The Vallecitos fourth grader, Tieago Lopez, became the fifth-place finisher 14:12 after the race began. “He’s really impressive for his age,” Hanbeck said.

The next four Vallecitos finishers are sixth graders. James Sharkey had a time of 15:34 to place 11th among the 36 runners in the race. Iker Yanez finished 12th with a time of 15:42. Miguel Diaz completed the course in 17:08 for 19th place. Candelario Francisco finished 22nd and posted a time of 18:21.

A time of 18:46 gave fifth-grader Andre McLaughlin 23rd place. The 32nd finisher, sixth-grader Eduardo Alegria, completed the race in 21:28.

Three Vikings, in addition to Moreno, ran in the 2022 cross country meet. Sharkey had a time of 16:11 for 11th place. Francisco was the 23rd finisher and took 18:15. Diaz was the 28th-place finisher and had a time of 20:10.

Weather limited practice for this year’s meet. “For the amount of time we were able to put in, I’m really happy,” Hanbeck said. “We didn’t even get to have that much practice time because of the rain.”

Support of one of the Vallecitos parents, whose property includes a slope, helped the Vikings with practice. “We were able to do some extra work on hills,” Hanbeck said. “I think that helped out, too.”

Warner Middle School will host a softball tournament which is scheduled for April 27, so the schools will meet in Warner Springs for their next competition.


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