Santa Barbara High was second to Moorpark in the 13-team meet for both the boys and girls 1.9-mile races at the Lake Casitas Twilight Meet.

The boys were edged out 50-54, with St. Bonaventure in third at 83.

On the girls side,  Moorpark finished with 21 points, Santa Barbara 62 and host Foothill Tech 105.

“This meet is always a lot of fun,” Santa Barbara coach Olivia Perdices said. “We challenged the kids to run a fast and aggressive race on the short course before we go to Clovis this weekend. They took us up on it and all raced really well.”

The boys placed three runners in the top five, led by Jake Ballantine in second at 9:54. Colin Hurtado was fourth in 10:14 and AJ Reyes 5th in 10:21. Luke Gordnier (19th, 11:15), Colin Wells (24th, 11:23) and Tristan Marks (30th, 1133) rounded out the scoring and medals for the Dons. 

“Jake did a great job and, more importantly, he pulled his teammates with him. It’s awesome to see Colin and AJ running in the front group the last couple of meets. Those guys are both new to cross country this year, but they’re tough and talented and willing to run with anybody. Jake brings that mentality and it’s contagious,” said Perdices.

The girls once again came through with a tight pack of six finishing inside one minute, led by freshman Elena Everest (9th, 13:30). Grace Miller (15th, 12:52),  Clara Aviani (16th, 13:53), Alice Gipe (19th, 13:54), Lily Pieramici (24th, 14:07) and Sierra Beltran (26th, 14:15) also scored and medaled for the Dons. 

“The girls do a great job keying off and pushing each other everyday and it shows in how they race. Elena keeps stepping up and gaining confidence with every race.”

Up next for Santa Barbara is the Clovis Invitational on the CIF State Championship course at Woodward Park on Saturday Oct. 6.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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