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Canyon Makes Amends


The Canyon Country Canyon boys' team exorcised the ghosts of last year's state cross-country championships with a runaway victory in the Division I race of this year's meet on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Canyon posted a 65-112 victory over runner-up Simi Valley Royal this time around, after being upset by Carmichael Jesuit, 94-97, in the Division II state final last year.

Dana Point Dana Hills was third with 121 points, followed by defending champion Long Beach Poly with 142, Clovis West with 147 and Jesuit with 158.

"This is a relief," Canyon senior Luke Llamas said after finishing second to Erick Maldonado of Chino Don Lugo. "We just didn't win, we dominated. We killed them. We ran really well."

Canyon, the second-ranked team in Harrier magazine's national poll, was the top team in the state all season. But the Cowboys never forgot about last year's heartbreaking loss.

"This team wanted to get better every single day," Coach Dave DeLong said.

The hard training paid off in a race run over a muddy, 5,000-meter course soaked by rains earlier in the day.

Llamas clocked 15 minutes 44 seconds to finish six seconds behind Maldonado, and senior Jameson Mora of Canyon was eighth in 15:54.

Junior Ryan Morgan was 11th in 15:59 for the Cowboys with junior Troy Werner 22nd in 16:12 and sophomore Alex Harris 69th in 16:53.

Maldonado, a junior, was bitterly disappointed after Llamas came from behind to beat him in the Southern Section championships on Nov. 17. But he pulled away in the final three-quarters of a mile in the rematch.

Riverside Rubidoux, Barstow and Riverside Woodcrest Christian each won its first state title as Southern Section teams placed first in four of the five boys' races.

Rubidoux defeated Placentia Valencia, 63-123, for the Division II title in a race that was run in a downpour. Senior Lino Flores placed ninth in 15:58 for a Rubidoux team whose top five runners posted a cumulative time of 81:54, second-fastest in the meet behind Canyon's 80:42.

Barstow won the Division III title with a 49-83 victory over Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World. Senior Kalan Ray was second in 16:00 for Barstow with junior Adam Rodriguez third in 16:10 for an Aztec squad that posted the third-fastest team time of the meet at 82:03.

Woodcrest Christian defeated San Francisco University, 65-67, for the Division V title. Sophomore Grant Nunnally placed ninth in 16:54 for Woodcrest Christian.

Junior Yong-Sung Leal of San Lorenzo Arroyo won his second consecutive Division II title in 15:17, the fastest time of the meet.

Senior Henry Hagenbuch of Carpinteria Cate ran 15:47 to place second in the Division V race, and junior Michael Poe of Etiwanda posted the same time to finish fourth in the Division I race.

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