From the Salinas Californian
Carmel takes MTAL titles in cross country
Carmel made it a clean sweep in the cross country championships Thursday at Toro Park in Salinas.
The Carmel High School boys and girls cross country teams raced to Mission Trail Athletic League championships.
The boys team beat out second-place King City 22-53 while the girls team defeated second-place Santa Catalina 54-75.
Four Padre boy runners raced to four of the top six spots. Carl Lostrom, Conrad Becker, Mark Ferlito and Patrick Parsel were the top runners for Carmel with Lostrom winning the race in 16:21.
Stevenson runner Andrew Lawrence was 10 seconds behind Lostrom for second place and Becker finished with a time of 16:39.
In girls competition, the top Carmel runner finished seventh, but the team still won by taking the eighth-, ninth- and 11th-place times.
Alexis Barajas of Greenfield won the race with a time of 20:30. Anzar runner Carmen Bunerostro was eight seconds behind for second place. Santa Catalina runner Sara Spowart finished third with a time of 21:43.
From the Monterey Herald
Carmel teams sweep league finals
By JOHN DEVINE
No noise on the bus. Not a peep.
The only sounds heard Thursday during the 25-minute ride to Toro Park was the engine and the brakes squeaking at stops.
"I told them any noise and I'll stop the bus and drop you off," Carmel High boys and girls cross-country coach John Ables said. "It's time to focus."
Somewhat tense before the meet, Ables let down his guard after the conclusion of the girls race, sporting a smile that needed no explanation.
For the fourth straight year, the Mission Trail Athletic League boys trophy is secured in the trunk of Ables' car.
Next to it this autumn is a girls team trophy.
The Padres swept the MTAL finals, defeating King City 22-53 in the boys division and knocking off Santa Catalina 54-75 in the girls competition.
For Carmel - which has not dropped a boys dual meet in five years - the win was taken in stride. For the girls, a celebration was warranted among the falling leaves.
"I started in August with a No. 4 and No. 7 runner,'' Ables said. "Sometimes I rolled my eyes. But these girls became one. There was no whining. We went to work."
So did the boys, who, behind four-time all-leaguer and champion Carl Lostrom, took five of the first eight spots in the race, finishing just 37 seconds apart.
"We decided to run our race," said Lostrom, who covered the 3.01-mile course in 16 minutes, 21 seconds. "We didn't focus on anyone else. We pushed each other and remained as a pack."
It wasn't that the Padres weren't challenged. In fact, a mile into the race, four runners from King City were in front of Carmel's top seven.
But with the sun setting in the background, a sea of red came racing down the hill, giving a blue and white sky a patriotic look over the final mile.
"We expected it from them (King City)," Lostrom said. "We kept them within our vision. In reality, we didn't care where we were until we got to the hills."
Lostrom, who has finished second the last two years at the finals, blistered the final mile of the race, finishing 10 seconds in front of Stevenson's Andrew Lawrence.
"Any one of my teammates could have won the race,'' Lostrom said. "I think it was in the back of all of our heads. Maybe it was the quarter I found."
While Carmel broke from its pack along the hills, no one was out of sight. Conrad Becker, Mark Ferlito, Patrick Parsel and Nick Shea were all in front of King City's second runner.
"We didn't lose to them, we got beat,'' King City coach Dave Daines said. "You can't race from the back. We tried to establish a pace. Each kid ran a personal record. I can't expect much more."
Eight days after falling to unbeaten Anzar by eight points, the Padres girls made amends in the meet that mattered most, posting a 21-point win over Santa Catalina.
Freshman Jessica Walsh led a parade of three Padres named Jessica, finishing seventh in 22:12. Teammates Jessica Jang and Jessica Mellinger finished strides behind.
"I put them in a pack this year for the first time,'' Ables said.
Defending champion Carmen Buenrostro of Anzar, who hadn't lost an MTAL race in two years, was overtaken in the final half mile by Greenfield's Alexis Barajas.
"Honestly, I didn't think I could beat her,'' said Barajas, who covered the race in 20:30. "But on the hills, I saw the distance wasn't that large.''
When the pair came down the hill, Buenrostro held a slim lead. Running side-by-side for 20 meters, Barajas took command with 600 meters remaining.
No one else was within a minute of the two runners.
"I got a sense I was pushing her too hard,'' said Barajas, a three-time all-leaguer. "I could hear her breathing. I just pushed a little harder."
Sara Spowart and Kate Gibson were both all-leaguers for Santa Catalina, which set a school record for MTAL wins this year with eight.
John Devine can be reached at 646-4405.