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Short-handed RedHawks still impressive on course
Despite missing two of its top three runners, the Colusa High varsity boys cross country team missed winning the final regular-season Butte View League cross country meet by just three points Wednesday in Colusa.
With their top runner, senior Ross Cervantes, resting a foot injury ahead of the league championship meet next week, and star freshman Max Valdez out sick, the RedHawks demonstrated phenomenal depth, falling three points shy of winning the meet.
RedHawks coach Matt Giffin expects both runners to be back for the BVL championships, which begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Sutter High.
"It's scary but it's not next week and it's not the week after, so we'd rather have it be this week than any other week," Giffin said.
Durham (35 points) escaped with the team victory - their first of the BVL season - on the strength of their top two runners, Damon Young and Ryder Pisenti, who crossing the finish line in first and second place, but Colusa (38 points) put three runners in the top six to make it close.
Every RedHawks runner in the varsity boys race improved their time from the Sept. 26 race on the same course at the Sacramento River State Recreation Area in Colusa.
Sophomore Christian Marzan (18:13, fourth) dropped 23 seconds off his time on the 3.1-mile course and led the RedHawks' fleet of runners.
"(Marzan's) tough, he's strong and he just goes for it. He's like a bulldog, just kind of keeps going and guts it out which it makes me really proud of him," Giffin said.
Colusa's home course is a flat 3.1-mile course that begins in the parking lot near the boat ramp and follows the levee through downtown to the River Road bridge, which is about a mile away, where the runners turn around and come back the way they came to the recreation area parking lot.
"When you're turning around and coming back, all the people are running towards you. I just say, 'Hey, good job,' and it gets your mind off the pain and your lungs dying," Marzan said.
The final mile of the course takes the runners on a loop through the trees and underbrush north of the parking area.
"It's flat, there's nothing really hard about it, it's just flat. You let your thoughts go and then you're just done, you're just surprised it went by so fast," Marzan said.
Senior Luke Corriea (fifth) and junior Felipe Granados (sixth) pushed each other the entire race, running side-by-side to an identical season best time of 18:35. Corriea dropped 29 seconds off his previous time on the Colusa course and Granados improved his time by 54 seconds.
With Cervantes and Valdez out, Ryan Mead (11th), Ernesto Mendez (12th) and Eric Barrera (13th) crossed the finish line in a pack, all within a second of each other at 19:40. Each dropped more than 40 seconds off their course time.
The RedHawks varsity girls also performed well, but senior Paige Townzen, who finished second on Sept. 26, dropped to fourth place because of a back injury that plagued her throughout the race. Despite the injury she finished the race in 22:13, only 15 seconds off her previous time.
The rest of the varsity girls picked up their injured ace, and the RedHawks (55 points) finished third behind Sutter (44) and Gridley (52).
Freshman Nadie Ahola continued to impress on the longer varsity course after moving up from the junior varsity team on Oct. 12, finishing in seventh place with a time of 22:41.
Senior Mariana Martinez made the biggest improvement of all the runners, cutting nearly a minute-per-mile off her time on the 3.1 mile course. She finished in 11th place with a time of 23:53.
"Martinez just keeps working, and working, and working. I love runners like that, they just work even when it's hard for them," Giffin said.
Aimee Maldonado (25:04, 15th) cut nearly two minutes off her time, and Alexia Vargas (25:29, 18th) dropped 2:34 off her previous personal course record.
Alan Iniguez led the junior varsity RedHawks to a second place finish behind Sutter, completing the 2.2 mile JV course in 13:23, good for fourth place. Sal Valencia (14:22, 11th), Teddy Vaillancourt (12th), Tristen Mendenhall (13th) and Cai Dunham (14th) finished within 23 seconds of each other, and Brian Garibay (20th) was less than a minute behind them.
Andrea Thomas was the lone Colusa JV girl runner, and she took fourth place with a time of 20:44.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.