John Reid - Sports Editor

Junior Allison Schmidt (right), LeeAnn Morales (left) and Eileen Bocanegra  (center)
The Hollister High boys cross-country team has been ranked No. 1 in the Central Coast Section the past two weeks on the strength of finishing ahead of Division I power Bellarmine at the Stanford Invitational.
     The Balers’ invulnerability took a major hit on Monday when visiting Alisal outdistanced Hollister 26-32 in a quad-team meet at Park Hill, which also included Gilroy and Alvarez. The loss gives the Balers one strike in the MBL title race, but hardly precludes them from winning the championship. 
     “We have to beat North County and Monterey next Monday and then come back strong at the MBL meet,” said Baler head coach Randy Logue. “I’m not making any excuses. Alisal ran great and is a great team. They came to run.” “We thought we had a chance today,” said Trojans coach Gustavo Lopez, in his sixth year. “This is the best team I’ve had by far.”
     The Trojans, the odds-on favorite to capture the CCS Division II title, placed 2-3 and 5-6-7 to beat the Balers, whose Patrick Hernandez was first by a great margin with a time of 17:11.
     The Trojans George Murillo (17:45) and Victor Saldana (17:49) were second and third, respectively, while the Balers Cliff Irrebaria was fourth at 18:02 over the 3-mile course.
     Hollister’s Hector Figueroa, Jim Hernandez and Jon Rivera were 8th, 9th and 10th, respectively, which was cause for concern.
     “I shouldn’t be coming ahead of the guys I did,” said Jim Hernandez. “We had an off day.”
     The Balers had a good excuse, having taking a third just two days previous at the hot Crystal Springs Invitational in Belmont behind state powers Jesuit (Sacramento) and Buchanon (Fresno).
     Baler assistant Jesse Morales felt that the Balers were taxed on Monday.
     “It’s hard to run with one day’s rest,” said Morales. “These kids aren’t machines. I told them before the race that what happens today isn’t important. It’s what happens at league and CCS.”
     The league meet is October 27 at Toro Park, while the CCS meet is November 10 at Crystal Springs. The Baler junior varsity swept the opposition, which pleased Logue.
     “We have a great future with some of our runners,” said Logue. “My staff Morales, Bob Davies and wife, Jennifer, are doing a great job with this kids. We compliment each other as coaches very well.”
     Randy Logue praised Isidro Trujillo, Matt Wynne, Adrian Martinez, a first-year junior. In addition, he singled out freshmen Chris Andersen and Josh Vasquez as progressing well.
     “Andersen has run three great races in a row,” said Logue. The frosh/soph ran uncontested.

Varsity girls
The Baler girls varsity swept the three schools — 17-34 over Alisal, 23-33 over Alvarez and 18-45 over Gilroy.
     Allison Schmidt keeps getting stronger and ran pain-free at 22:23. LeeAnn Morales ran a 22:50 for second. Eileen Bocanagra was fifth at 24:28 with teammate Kory Case sixth at 24:33. Katherine Parker was the fifth Baler in at 13th (25:07).
     “This is the best race for us as a team,” said Schmidt. “I felt strong and LeeAnn did a good job of holding her girl off. Eileen kept up. All the girls ran a great race and ran as a pack.”
     The Balers ran without sophomore Tiffany Davies, who has been battling a severe case of tendonitis in her knee. 
     “I don’t know if she’ll run this year,” said coach Jennifer Logue. “She has to start off slow and she’s only up to two miles. And she hasn’t been able to do hills, yet.”
     The JV girls, who had some runners out sick or injured, beat every team but Alvarez. Baler Briana Colorado was first, while Lorena Villagomez, Katey Dungy and Brianna Griffith ran well, according to Jennifer Logue.
     “The boys have been getting a lot of the attention,” said Randy Logue. “When we got beat today, the girls could have let down but they didn’t. They deserve to be praised for running a good race.”