Condors Show Resolve
Condors show resolve at
By SKIP POWERS
Little was said. No one on the North Monterey County High
girls cross-country team had to be reminded.
Last year's tragic accident, which involved Cynari Haralson and
Meri Hawkins of this year's team, wasn't forgotten. But
Saturday was an indication that life goes on.
Condor girls coach Jess Soliven told his runners before the race,
"Leave no doubt."
And they didn't. With six runners finishing in the top 12 -
separated by only 45 seconds - the Condors were able to run
away from defending champion Salinas 18-30.
The Condors were led by sophomore Amy Gibbs, who
covered the 3.01-mile Toro Park course in 20 minutes, 43
seconds - good enough for second place. The Condor pack,
headed by Haralson at 21:04, was close behind.
"We try to stick with the top runners from the other teams," said
Gibbs, who couldn't quite stick with Hollister's Allison Schmidt,
the individual champion in 20:31.
If the meet was ever in doubt, that changed after the second
mile, when Elaine Schrieber and Lauren Whinfield closed the
gap and tightened the Condor pack.
"One is always pulling and another is always pushing," explained
Soliven, referring to the pack techniques.
Salinas was led by Amy Cranford, who finished fifth overall in
21:01, with teammate Julie Schmiess ninth in 21:20. But
between them was the North County trio of Haralson, Adriene
Tabag in 21:07 and Grecia Garcia in 21:13.
Hollister finished third in the team competition with 76 points,
followed by Alvarez at 112; Monterey 167; Gilroy 175; Alisal
187; Live Oak 190; Notre Dame 231; and North Salinas 242.
North County wasn't the only team utilizing the pack mentality to
win a championship Saturday.
Alisal's boys saw their title hopes come alive when they finished
all five of their scoring runners in the top eight to outdistance
Leading the Trojan pack was senior Jorge Murillo, who
knocked 20 seconds off his personal best to finish at 16:16.
Despite beating Hollister in a dual meet a little over a week ago,
the Trojans still felt they had something to prove.
"It made us want it more; when there are people who doubt
you, it makes you work harder," Murillo said.
Unable to practice all week because of injury, Victor Saldana
nonetheless was able to rear up the Trojan pack and finish
eighth overall in 16:55.
"Each person depends on the other four," Alisal coach Gustavo
The race was still in doubt with 400 meters remaining, at which
point Victor Lopez and Daniel Benito passed Hollister's third
runner, Hector Figueroa. Lopez wound up fourth in 16:47, with
Benito fifth in 16:50 and Figueroa sixth in 16:51.
"We knew that we needed to beat Hollister's third runner to
win," Lopez said. "We finished strong and took care of the
meets we had to. After the city meet, we really stepped it up."
Hollister's Patrick Hernandez, who was never seriously
challenged, scorched the Toro Park course in 15:48 to run
away with the individual title.
North County was a distant third in the boys team competition
with 106 points - 74 behind Hollister - with Salinas fourth at
111. Live Oak placed next at 137, followed by Palma at 183;
Monterey 184; North Salinas 194; Alvarez 209; and Gilroy