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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | BOYS' CROSS-COUNTRY
PREVIEW

Canyon Hopes for Four-Star Season

September 08, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Canyon High's chances at having a great boys' cross-country team this year could be inadvertently determined by the Southern Section as early as today.

That is the opinion of Cowboy Coach Dave DeLong and juniors Luke Llamas and Jameson Mora.

Llamas, Mora and sophomore Ryan Morgan should give Canyon a quality 1-2-3 punch after running 9:32.75, 9:36.95 and 9:56.26, respectively, in the 3,200 meters during track season.

But that fast moving trio could become a foursome if senior Nick Zoetewey wins an appeal with the Southern Section regarding his athletic eligibility.

Zoetewey won the Foothill League cross-country title for Saugus last year and ran 4:20.90 in the 1,600 during track season, but he moved into Canyon's attendance district with his mother over the summer after his parents filed for divorce in June.

The Southern Section ruled in July that Zoetewey would be ineligible to compete for Canyon on the varsity level this school year because of his transfer. But Zoetewey, his father Chuck and attorney Michael Bond met Tuesday with section officials to appeal that ruling.

No decision was reached at that time, but one could be announced today.

"Without Nick, we'll be a very good team," DeLong said. "But with him, we'll be a great team. . . . With him, you're talking about a team with four guys capable of running well under 16 minutes [on Mt. San Antonio College's 2.95-mile course]."

Added Llamas, "We have a lot of potential and an opportunity to do something great this season."

Contending for the Division II titles in the Southern Section championships at Mt. SAC on Nov. 18 and in the state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno a week later would qualify as something great for Canyon, which won the Foothill League title and placed 10th in the Southern Section Division I final last year.

Canyon won the 1995 state Division I girls' title, but the boys' team hasn't advanced to the state meet since 1992, when the Cowboys placed fourth in the Division II final.

The 1989 team, led by Dave Hartman and Dan Berkeland, was the best in DeLong's first 13 years at the school. But this team could be better as junior Kyle Corbett, sophomore Mark Bingham and freshman Jace Getskow should give the Cowboys solid depth in the Nos. 4-6 positions if Zoetewey is unable to run.

Corbett finished fifth in the freshman-sophomore race of the league finals last year after breaking a bone in his heel just before the start of the season.

Bingham was a standout age-group runner before high school, but ran sparingly as a freshman after breaking his hip at the end of his eighth-grade track season.

Getskow is the brother of John Getskow, a member of the 1997 Saugus team that won the Southern Section Division II title.

DeLong won't make any bold predictions despite all of the talent. But he likes their work ethic.

"I've never been much for predictions," he said. "My attitude is, 'Let's work hard and let the chips go where they're going to go.' The hard part is working hard and I like what this team has done so far."

Other teams to watch in the region:

* Oak Park: Senior Mark Nevers led the Eagles to their first Ventura County title last year and could propel them to their first Southern Section Division IV championship this season.

Nevers placed third in the state final last year and ran school records of 4:21.22 in the 1,600 and 9:22.3 in the 3,200 during track.

Juniors Chase Ferrell and Taylor Hermes--who missed the state final due to a hamstring injury--and senior Ben Saxey return for a squad that was the top-ranked team in the region for several weeks last year.

* Thousand Oaks: Seth Neumuller, the 1998 and 1999 Marmonte League champion, graduated in June, but junior Mike Krestyn is expected to lead the Lancers to their fourth consecutive league title.

Krestyn finished third in the league final last year and has run 4:27.85 in the 1,600.

Juniors Kevin Lindsey, Teage O'Connor and Chris Deonier and sophomore Ryan Ketcham should comprise the Nos. 2-5 spots on a team that could be even stronger next year.

* Hueneme: The Vikings could snap Camarillo's Pacific View League title streak at two as they return five of their top seven runners from last year's team that finished second in league.

Seniors Cristobal Sanchez and Michael Rivera placed seventh and 10th, respectively, in the league final.

Senior Israel Bojorquez, junior Ricky Rosales and sophomore Luis Villegas are the other top returners.

* Nordhoff: The Rangers will move up to Division III this year after finishing second, first and first in the last three state Division IV finals.

Senior Roberto Contreras placed eighth in the state final, but he is academically ineligible at the moment.

Seniors Jay Leech and Nick Pisciotta and juniors Danny Bolanos, Mike Owen and Justin Martinez are other returners for a team that placed second in the Ventura County championships.

* Taft: The Toreadors return their top five runners from last year's squad that placed sixth in the City final.

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