Condors Show Resolve

                      Condors show resolve at
                      Toro Park 

                      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
                      Hollister 26-32.

                      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
                      Lopez said.

                      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