Vela, Lopez, Buchholz medal in Laguna Hills Invitational

The 30th annual Laguna Hills Cross-Country Invitational meet held Sept. 14 gave medals to the first 40 finishers in each race, and three of those medals were presented to Fallbrook girls.

Andrea Vela finished 24th in the Division 2 sophomore race, Rosanne Lopez was 25th among Division 2 senior girls, and Ariana Buchholz began her high school athletic career by finishing 39th among Division 2 freshmen.

“We were pleased,” Fallbrook girls coach Tim Hauck said of the Warriors’ performance in their first meet of the season. “We had some good performances.”

An attempt to realign Fallbrook High School semesters led to an earlier school starting date this year. “We had five full weeks of practice before our first meet. We’ve never had anything like that before,” Hauck said.

“The girls have been running hills, heat and humidity, and working themselves into good shape,” Hauck said. “We were real anxious to get going.”

Fallbrook had 20 runners in the four girls races, including five who ran the 2012 Laguna Hills meet. Vela, who had a time of 23:07 in last year’s freshman race, improved her time on the 3.0-mile course to 21:00 Sept. 15. “She had a real breakthrough race,” Hauck said. “That was a real good strong performance.”

Six of the 200 runners in the sophomore girls race were Fallbrook High School students. Natalie Dudley was 67th at 23:21, Kaitlyn Byrne posted a 71st-place time of 23:25, Michel Navarro crossed the finish line in 100th place 24:25 after the starter’s gun was fired, and Natalia Escobar placed 139th with a time of 26:35. Anikah Stone was the final finisher.

Lopez posted a time of 21:28 to lead the six Fallbrook seniors. “Rosanne Lopez had a good day,” Hauck said.

The senior race had a total of 103 runners. Sarah Girgis placed 46th at 22:42 while running together with Molly Paige, whose time of 22:43 gave her 47th place. Marlene Calixto took 58th place and had a time of 23:40. Anna Wegner posted an 86th-place time of 26:08. Angela DiMercurio took 28:30 and 94th place.

Buchholz, one of five Fallbrook freshmen in her 198-competitor race, completed the course in 22:50. Briana Aguigui was 79th at 24:29, Cassidy Clary finished 178th after spending 29:13 racing, Brooke Beckett had a time of 29:50 which gave her 183rd place, and Nicole Jones crossed the finish line at 30:27 and in 187th place.

Three of the 151 girls in the Division 2 junior race represented Fallbrook High School. Kiera Donoghue was one position away from a medal at 41st place, but her time of 21:48 compared favorably with her 2012 sophomore time of 22:35. Alex Beckett was 58th in the junior race at 22:30 while Alexi Eich finished 123rd and posted a time of 25:44.

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