The Mount Carmel/Movin’ Shoes Cross-Country Invitational meet was contested Sept. 15 at the Morley Field course in San Diego, and seven of the 24 Fallbrook girls who competed received medals for being among their race’s top 60 finishers.
“That’s not bad. I’ll take it,” said Fallbrook coach Troy Hamlin. “Overall we did well.”
Some of the races occurred after a compromise between meet organizers and the San Diego Fire Department, which threatened to shut the meet down due to the excessive heat. The temperature at Morley Field was 95 degrees by 8 a.m. and exceeded 100 degrees later in the day. The junior and senior girls ran the normal 2.75-mile distance while the freshmen and sophomore girls ran a 2.2-mile course with the hill taken out.
“It was one of those days where you survived and learned what you can from it,” Hamlin said.
All 24 Fallbrook girls finished. A total of 15 girls from throughout San Diego County had to be taken to the hospital due to complications from racing in the heat. “We didn’t have any heat injuries,” Hamlin said. “They did not require medical attention.”
Three of Fallbrook’s medalists were freshmen. Hannah French took 47th place with a time of 16:49; Andrea Vela posted a time of 16:55 and earned 49th place, and Michel Navarro received 59th place after spending 17:20 on the course.
A total of 144 freshmen girls competed in the race, including seven from Fallbrook High School. The Warriors opened their season Sept. 8 at the Laguna Hills Invitational, and three of the freshmen girls were among the final 10 finishers in the 130-runner freshmen race.
Those three girls had better performances at the Mt. Carmel Invite: Olivia Gonzales ran the course in 19:52 and finished 107th, Alyssa Stabley took 127th place at 21:21, and Jessica Smith placed 130th with a time of 21.39.
“The second-level freshmen did much better. After Laguna I wasn’t sure they were going to make it as cross-country runners,” Hamlin said. “This shows that they can make it and they are improving.”
Fallbrook’s seventh freshman, Ally Cote, placed 42nd at the Laguna Hills meet but had heat-related problems at Morley Field and settled for 117th place with a time of 20:30.
Two of Fallbrook’s seven junior runners medaled while five finished in the top half of the 203-runner field. Rosanne Lopez posted a 47th-place time of 18:52 while Haley McCaffrey earned 60th place 19:13 after the starter’s gun was fired. Michelle Madden also had a time of 19:13 but missed a medal by one position and took 61st place immediately behind McCaffrey.
Sarah Girgis, a second-year cross-country runner who missed the Laguna Hills meet due to a Future Farmers of America commitment, placed 80th with a time of 19:45. Molly Paige became the 11th Fallbrook girl this year to make her Warrior cross-country debut; her time of 20:18 was worth 96th place.
Ciera Villegas missed the Laguna Hills meet to take the ACT college admittance test and opened her season with a 45th-place finish in the Mt. Carmel Invitational’s senior race. Villegas posted a time of 18:03.
Two other Fallbrook seniors finished in the top half of their race, which had a total of 177 girls. Alexis Lopez placed 68th with a 19:11 performance while Rachel Jones spent 19:48 on the course and earned 79th place. Six Fallbrook girls competed in the senior race.
Emma Workman earned a medal in the sophomore race with a 30th-place time of 15:09. Kiera Donaghue placed 86th among the 202 sophomore girls with a time of 17:11. Fallbrook had four sophomores at the Mt. Carmel Invitational.