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Rivera fifth in league cross country championship meet

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Although Fallbrook High School’s boys cross country team placed last among the six Valley League teams at the Nov. 4 league championship meet at Guajome Park, Fallbrook senior Jose Rivera was fifth among the 62 boys.

Rivera posted a time of 16:54 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course. The fourth-place finisher, Mission Hills senior Jaeden Tran, had a time of 16:49. The sixth-place time of San Pasqual junior David Sabin was 17:01.5.

“Jose ended up having a great race, but nobody else stepped up,” said Fallbrook head coach Marco Arias.

The Valley League had two cluster meets in which all six schools participated. The Warriors placed fourth in the first cluster meet Sept. 29 at Guajome Park and fifth at the second cluster meet Oct. 13 at Kit Carson Park.

“It was just a bad day of racing,” Arias said of the league championship meet.

“Hopefully the guys learn from that one,” Arias said. “You can’t run complacent and hope to do anything with it.”

The formula for the team league championship gives 25% for positions at each of the two league cluster meets and the other 50% for the positions at the league championship meet.

San Pasqual and Mission Hills had alternated first and second at the league cluster meets, and Mission Hills won the league championship by totaling 42 points at the league championship meet compared to 48 points for San Pasqual.

Valley Center was third with 86 points. Ramona had 101 points. Escondido’s total was 126 points. Fallbrook accumulated 135 points.

Cross country team scores are derived by adding the positions of a school's first five finishers; the sixth and seventh finishers from each team are not scored but can add points to opponents' totals.

The top 10 finishers in the league championship meet race receive recognition on the all-league first team while the next 10 finishers are on the all-league second team. Rivera’s fifth-place finish thus earned him Valley League first team distinction.

“I felt proud because I was up there with those top runners,” Rivera said.

“We just went after it,” Rivera said. “I feel I did good.”

Last year, Rivera placed ninth at the league championship meet, which also gave him a berth on the Valley League first team. The 2022 meet was held on a 3.05-mile course at Kit Carson Park, and Rivera had a time of 18:12.1. Rivera did not run cross country as a freshman or sophomore.

Current junior Daniel Wilson is the only other Fallbrook runner who competed in both the 2022 and the 2023 league championship meets. This year, four Fallbrook runners finished as a pack and took the 39th through 42nd positions.

The first three of those are juniors: Manuel Melendez completed the course in 19:34.9; Wilson’s time was 19:37.5, and Giovanny Orozco finished in 19:43.5.

The time for freshman Tristan Valtieri was 19:45.5.

Wilson finished 35th at the 2022 league championship meet with a time of 19:55.8, and he was 47th at the 2021 meet at Guajome Park with a time of 21:53.4 on the 5,000-meter course.

Each school is allowed up to 12 runners at the league championship meet, and the Warriors had 10. The sixth Fallbrook finisher, junior Cruz Arroyo, was 45th overall and had a time of 19:51.0.

Fallbrook took both 49th and 50th with senior Javier Valdez posting a time of 20:22.6 and junior Alejandro Lugo having a 20:23.3 performance. The only Fallbrook sophomore in the race, Gunnar Wiessner, became the 59th finisher 21:26.5 after the race began. The 62nd-place time for junior Jason Fuentes was 22:51.1.


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