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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Santa Barbara’s James Ballantine Lowers Course PR at UCSB Lagoon Invite

Santa Barbara High's Jake Ballantine beat his previous best time on the UCSB Lagoon course by 22 seconds and finished in 15th place in the season-opening Gaucho Invitational cross country meet on Saturday.

Ballantine, a junior, ran the 3-mile course in 16:45. Senior Colin Hurtado ran 17:25 for 31st place in his cross country debut. AJ Reyes (79th, 19:25), Luke Gordnier (81st, 19:33), and Emmanuel Garcia Flores (106th, 20:44) rounded out the scoring for Santa Barbara. 

Coach Olivia Perdices was happy with the team's performance in its first competition.

"I'm excited to see our boys develop this season," she said. "Jake comes in after some big summer triathlon results. I'm a little spoiled in that I can always count on him to be in the thick of the race. The rest of our varsity boys were running their first cross country meet today. It's a great mix of lacrosse players and 4x400 guys from the track team. They're good athletes and tough competitors who have really bought into training hard and leaning the sport."

Elena Everest (57th, 22:49) led the Santa Barbara girls.  Clara Aviani (85th, 22:12), Sierra Beltran (90th, 24:18), Laila Goodman (102nd, 25:12), and Greta Mixon (122nd, 27:26) were the other Dons' finishers.

"We had several returning scorers out of the lineup today for a variety of reasons," Perdices said. "These five rookies stepped up and really competed. They worked and fed off each other throughout the race and did everything we asked of them."

In the 1.4-mile "short course" race, the Dons were led by junior Alice Gipe (34th, 10:40) in the girls race and senior Hendrik Musolf (15th, 9:03) in the boys race.

Santa Barbara next runs at the Lompoc Invitational at River Park on Wednesday 5 Sept. 

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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