Fallbrook sophomore Josh Hernandez took seventh place at the Valley League cross country championship meet Nov. 11 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido.
Hernandez had a time of 17:30.9 on the 3.05-mile course. “Both him and I were a little disappointed,” said Fallbrook head coach Marco Arias.
The goal Hernandez and Arias had was to finish in the top five.
“It’s not too far off from where he wanted to finish, but it is something that’s going to drive him both in his racing and his training,” Arias said.
Hernandez held fifth place near the end of the race before being passed.
“He’s got to learn basically when challenged, step up to that challenge,” Arias said.
The team scores which are based on the positions of a school’s first five finishers gave San Pasqual first place with 38 points, Escondido second with 43 points, Valley Center third with 63 points, Fallbrook fourth with 107 points, and Ramona fifth with 119 points. Fallbrook had finished fifth in the Oct. 26 league cluster meet at Guajome Park.
“We finished fourth in the league meet which is a very nice improvement,” said Arias. “What it showed is our kids are making the jump to the next level. I can’t say I’m happy (with the fourth-place finish), but I’m definitely not disappointed. This is a learning season.”
Seven of Fallbrook’s 10 runners were competing in their first league meet.
“A lot of them, it’s their first experience running league finals,” said Arias. “We’re crawling right now. We’re going to be walking next year.”
Last year, when the league meet was held at Guajome Park, Hernandez took 21st place. Current sophomore Michael Lopez, who finished 19th this year with a time of 18:24.7, was the 44th finisher in 2016. Ricardo Martinez, who is also a sophomore this year, was 47th last year and placed 40th in the 2017 meet with a time of 19:51.5.
Danny Contreras was Fallbrook’s first freshman across the finish line, placing 29th overall with a time of 19:06.7. A time of 19:09.7 gave sophomore Tristan Suppe 31st place. Nash Youngren completed the course in 19:10.7 to give the freshman 33rd place. Tenth-grader Joseph Bell had the 34th-place time of 19:17.4. Two juniors ran for Fallbrook in the league meet: Martin Sanchez finished in 19:53.3 for 41st place and Chris Aguilar took 45th place with a 20:47.5 performance. Andres Martinez, a sophomore, was the 47th runner across the finish line 21:19.1 after the race began.
“It was an improvement and we’re focusing on improvement and moving toward the future,” Arias said.