Rivera third at league cross country meet

Fallbrook High senior Gisselle Rivera, second runner from left, is shown here leading her teammates at a cross country event at Guajome Park Oct. 26. Rivera finished third at the Valley League championship meet contested Nov. 11 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. Adrienne Petersen photo

The Valley League championship cross country meet was contested Nov. 11 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, and Fallbrook senior Gisselle Rivera finished third among the 45 runners in the girls race.

Rivera had a time of 20:49.4 on the 3.05-mile course. Ramona sophomore Amy Brown won the race in 19:30.9, San Pasqual senior Renee Laurenzana had the second-place time of 20:06.4, and Rivera edged out two Ramona harriers with sophomore Alyssa Davis taking fourth at 20:49.8 and junior Lexie Waples finishing in 20:50.6 for fifth place.

“I’m glad for what I’ve done,” said Rivera. “I never expected to be at that position.”

“Just a great race,” said Fallbrook coach Bret Hasvold. “She kept moving up through the pack the whole race and battled with two Ramona girls and beat both of them right at the line.”

“She ran an amazing race,” said Fallbrook co-coach Lisa Hasvold. “She just kept passing people. She ran a rally smart technical race. She just kept pushing the whole race.”

Cross country team scores are derived by adding the positions of a school’s first five finishers; the sixth and seventh finishers are not scored but can add points to other teams’ totals. Fallbrook finished fourth among the five Valley League teams.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Bret Hasvold said.

“I was not disappointed,” Lisa Hasvold said. “It was expected.”

Ramona won the league championship; the Bulldogs complemented their three top-five finishes with the ninth, eleventh, and fourteenth positions.

The league championship was based on the results of both the league championship meet in which Ramona had 30 points and the two league cluster meets the Bulldogs won with 44 points Sept. 29 and 34 points Oct. 26.

San Pasqual was second with 54 points. Valley Center accumulated 71 points for third place. Escondido was the fifth-place team with 110 points. “I knew we’d beat Escondido,” Lisa said.

The top 10 finishers in the race received berths on the all-league first team while the next 10 finishers were given second-team Valley League recognition. Rivera was Fallbrook’s only first-team girl, although a twelfth-place finish provided junior Audrey Petersen with second-team honors.

Petersen had a time of 22:00.3. “It wasn’t the best day for her,” said Lisa. “She ran into some things, but she stuck with it.”

A time of 23:30.3 gave freshman Jade Kennedy 24th place. “She finished strong, really strong,” Lisa said.

Riley Barrios finished the race in 23:35.2, which equated to 27th place for the sophomore. “She had been sick, so she missed training,” said Lisa.

Another sophomore, Maya Rink, completed the course in 24:16.8 for 32nd place.

The junior varsity cross country league championship meet took place Nov. 3 at Kit Carson Park and Fallbrook freshman Amairani Sanabria was the first individual finisher. The coaches placed Sanabria in the varsity championship race the following week.

“We wanted her to get this type of race experience,” Lisa said.

The coaches had no expectations with regard to Sanabria’s performance in the varsity league meet. She posted a time of 24:17.7 for 33rd place. “She did very well,” Lisa said.

Iman Saadat took 35th place; the senior had a time of 24:41.5.

Each school was allowed to enter up to 12 runners. Fallbrook had eight representatives, and the final Warrior across the finish line was junior Katie Hutzler, whose 43rd-place time was 26:44.8.

“She’s struggling with shin splints,” said Lisa of Hutzler.

The coaches did not force Hutzler to compete in the league meet, but the runner opted to run through the pain. “It was her choice,” Lisa said.

Last year’s league championship meet was on the 3.1-mile (5,000-meter) Guajome Park course. Petersen took fifth place, Rivera finished seventh, Barrios was the 27th runner to complete the course, and Hutzler placed 47th.

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