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Monterey Bay Invite a tune up for Mt. Sac

Courtesy By: Monterey County Herald

Runners tuning up at Toro Park
Annual Monterey Bay Invite leads into league finals
By JERRY STEWART
Herald Correspondent

Click photo to enlarge
Palma's Tyre Johnson, right, will lead a strong Palma team at the... (DAVID ROYAL/The Herald)
With league championships slated to get under way next weekend, some high school cross country coaches and athletes are looking at this weekend's events as one final tune-up.

For a number of locals, the annual Monterey Bay Invitational at Toro Park will be one of those occasions.

Hosted by North Salinas, this year's meet is expected to feature more than 30 schools from throughout California, including Central Coast Section powerhouses such as Los Gatos, Aptos and Willow Glen of San Jose.

Local boys squads participating in the two-day event include Carmel, Palma, King City, Monterey and Salinas.

On the girls front, teams to watch will include Salinas, Carmel, Aptos, Los Gatos and Leland of San Jose, all of which are currently ranked among the Top 10 in the section.

A lot of the kids look at the meet as one last preparation run before league (championships). The coaches, meanwhile, are looking to set lineups, Vikings coach Alan Green said.

Because of the size of the field, races will be held both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, 11 schools will run, with varsity races beginning at 3:30 p.m. (girls) and 4 p.m. (boys). On Saturday, 22 schools will hit the course, with varsity races starting at noon (girls) and 1 p.m. (boys).

The field will be split, with Division I and Division II schools running together, and D-III, D-IV and D-V schools running together. D-III through D-V schools have the option of running with the bigger schools if they wish.

Last


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year, the Aptos boys and Los Gatos girls won the team competitions. In individual competition, Valley Christian's Robbie Knorr won the boys crown with a time of 15 minutes, 35 seconds on the 3-mile course, while San Lorenzo Valley's Taylor Johnson took the girls title with a run of 18:21.

In this year's boys competition, one intriguing race could be Palma star Tyre Johnson going against Willow Glen standout Mohamed Abdalla. Johnson is ranked No. 4 in the section, with Abdalla ranked No. 2.

There's always the potential to have some very interesting match-ups, Green said. It should be a very exciting weekend.

Crystal Springs Invite|

Alisal star Diego Estrada and Johnson made last weekend's Crystal Springs Invitational in Belmont a two-man show.

Estrada, who will be competing in the Mt. SAC Invitational this weekend, won the championship race with a blistering time of 15:03. Right behind him was Johnson at 15:08. After the third-place finisher (Eric Battles of Clovis West), the next best time was 10 seconds slower than Johnson's pace.

In team competition, the Salinas girls shined, placing fifth overall thanks in part to the efforts of Kirsten White (19:21), Kelsey Palassou (19:52) and Susanne Andresen (19:53).

Also having a big day was the King City boys squad, which placed ninth overall.

The charts|

Joining Estrada and Johnson as boys who are currently ranked in the section are North Monterey County's Michael Machado, King City's Oscar Pe a and Monterey's Jake Arveson.

Local girls who are ranked include Carmel's Jessica Fenton and Anasophie Lee, Stevenson's Annie Lee and North County's Jovita Trujillo. Fenton, a sophomore, finished 13th overall at Crystal Springs with a time of 19:06.

The Condors will also be competing at the Mt. SAC Invitational.

Herald correspondent Jerry Stewart can be reached at 644-0319.

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