Jake Ballantine of Santa Barbara won the County Cross Country varsity boys individual championship.

Jake Ballantine of Santa Barbara won the County Cross Country varsity boys individual championship. (Courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara High’s Jake Ballantine ran a lifetime best of 15:33 over three miles to win the individual varsity boys title at the Santa Barbara County Cross Country Championships on Thursdaty at River Park in Lompoc. 

Cate sophomore Anna DiSorbo was the varsity girls champion, the first ever for Cate. She finished in 18:57.

The Rams scored 79 points to place second in the girls team competition behind champion Righetti. Santa Barbara was third followed by San Marcos, Santa Maria, Orcutt Academy, Pioneer Valley, Carpinteria, Cabrillo and St. Joseph.

Dos Pueblos, coming off winning the Riverside Invitational last Saturday and with the Channel League finals next week, elected to not field varsity teams for the county championships. The Chargers sent JV teams and the boys took first and the girls second.

“We did not run our varsity, as they had a hard race last weekend, both winning first place at the Riverside Invitational. We needed time to recover and to prepare for league finals next week,”  said Jimenez

The boys varsity champion was Santa Maria with 43 points, with San Marcos taking second with 52 and Midland coming in third with 71. The rest of the field in order included Santa Barbara, Cabrillo, Carpinteria, Orcutt Academy, Cate, Pioneer Valley,  Santa Ynez, Righetti and St.Joseph.

Ballantine won the boys race in a sprint finish with Yair Torres of Santa Maria and Will Snyder and Jacob Snodgrass of San Marcos.

“Jake has had some good results and close finishes at this meet, and it’s great for him to win it as a senior,” said Santa Barbara coach Olivia Perdices “There were four guys running together with 200 meters to go and he wasn’t going to be denied. He’s never come out on top in a sprint finish like that and it’s something he’s really been trying to work on. It was fun to watch it come together.”

Santa Barbara got lifetime bests from Vollin Wells (13th, 16:43), Amir Walton (18th, 16:49), Drew DeLozier (43rd, 17:50), Colten McToldridge (49th, 17:57).

“The boys have really bought into all laying it on the line for each other. It’s a great group of guys who love working together,” said Perdices.

DiSorbo led a strong performance by the Cate girls. Fellow sophomore co-captain Meena Baher placed fifth in 19:35, sophomore Kennedy Simpson edged freshman Kendall Thorne by one second, 21:13 and 21:14, to finished 23rd and 24th.  Sophomore Ella Gardner toughed out her last mile to finish 32nd in 21:38. 

The Santa Barbara girls got lifetime bests from Elena Everest (7th, 19:49), Clara Aviani (17th, 20:44), Daisy McToldridge (18th, 20:45), and Katherine Hedrick (29th, 21:29).

“Those were some clutch performances, and being around these girls everyday I know there’s more to come,” said Perdices.

In the boys’ race, senior co-captain Tesfa Asmara led Cate with his best race of the season, finishing 11th in 16:30.  Sophomore Nick Patrick  finished 33rd in 17:34, sophomore Peter Wood was 53rd in 18:05, followed by freshman Harry McAdam in 57th in 18:17 and sophomore Andrew Busse in 61st place with a time of 18:22. 

Noozhawk Sports Editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.