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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Canyon Goes DeLong Way to Finish Second and Fourth

State cross-country: Coach says Cowboys ran well but were beaten by better teams.

November 26, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FRESNO — The rankings indicate the Canyon High boys' and girls' teams didn't perform as well as expected in the state cross-country championships at Woodward Park on Saturday, but Coach Dave DeLong begged to differ.

DeLong, who is in his 14th season at the school, would love to have won the Division II boys' title and finished among the top three in the girls' race, but he could find little to fault with his teams' performances after the boys' finished second and the girls placed fourth.

"I thought both teams ran well," he said. "The girls ran great. They all did. . . . I've always said that if you run as well as you can and you don't finish as expected, then you can't be disappointed if you get beat by better teams. That's what happened [Saturday]."

Carmichael Jesuit edged Canyon, 94-97, for the boys' title. The Cowboys were the top-ranked team in the state for most of the season.

Canyon, the No. 5-ranked team in the West region by Harrier magazine, received good performances from senior Nick Zoetewey, juniors Luke Llamas and Jameson Mora, and sophomore Ryan Morgan, and a great effort from junior Kyle Corbett.

But the Cowboys couldn't prevent Jesuit from winning its fifth title in the last eight years.

"If you had told me before the meet that our fifth runner was going to run [16:41] and we'd lose, I would have said, 'I don't think so,' " DeLong said.

The No. 5 position had been Canyon's Achilles' heel all season because there often was more than a minute between that runner and the Cowboys' top finisher.

The gap was 57 seconds on Saturday, however, as Zoetewey finished 10th with a 15:44 clocking over the 5,000-meter course and Corbett was 67th in 16:41.

Llamas placed 15th in 15:49, Mora was 20th in 15:54 and Morgan was 28th in 16:05, but Jesuit's top five runners finished 11th, 22nd, 26th, 30th and 44th.

Sophomore Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa finished 14th in 15:49 and senior Thomas Harley of Burbank placed 18th in 15:52 to lead the Bulldogs to a sixth-place finish.

Santa Rosa Montgomery, led by Sara Bei's record-setting fourth consecutive victory, won the girls' Division II title with a 96-105 victory over Sultana.

Santa Ana Foothill was third with 151 points, followed by Canyon with 156.

Canyon finished third behind Sultana and Foothill in the Southern Section championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Nov. 18, but DeLong figured the Cowboys had an outside shot at finishing first and a good chance at finishing second in the state meet.

"Sultana is a better team than us," DeLong said earlier in the week. "If they run like they did in the [section] championships, we can't beat them. They're going to have to help us."

Canyon ran well as the cumulative time of the Cowboys' top five runners was nearly identical to what they ran in winning the 1995 state Division I title.

Sophomore Brenda Stevens finished 23rd in 18:59 for Canyon with junior Jazmin Treadway 28th in 19:03. They were followed by freshmen Lauren Walker, 45th in 19:23, Alysia Johnson, 48th in 19:26, and Leanne Riggin, 56th in 19:33.

"With as young a team as this is, I figured a finish in the top five would be good," DeLong said. "Hopefully they'll feel good about what they did, but not totally satisfied. . . . Hopefully, they'll be hungry to do more."

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