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INLAND EMPIRE CHALLENGE

Pasciuto Sets Course Record to Win Title

October 12, 2003|John Ortega | Times Staff Writer

Liza Pasciuto set her second course record of the season while helping Murrieta Valley to the sweepstakes title in the Inland Empire Challenge cross-country meet Saturday at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario.

Pasciuto, a senior, completed the three-mile course in 17 minutes 10 seconds to win her third consecutive Inland Empire title and lead the Nighthawks to a 28-35 victory over Hesperia Sultana, the defending champion.

Pasciuto missed school Thursday because she was ill, but recovered well enough to cut 21 seconds off the course record she set in last year's race.

"We definitely came in just wanting to run the best we could," Pasciuto said. "Individually, I wanted to be at my best. But I wasn't feeling good, so I just ran as well as I could for the team."

Murrieta Valley, the defending state Division I champion and The Times' top-ranked girls' team in the Southland, had five of the top 12 finishers in defeating Sultana, No. 2 in The Times' rankings.

Senior Stacy Tabuena finished second in 17:54 for defending Division II state champion Sultana, but the Sultans were dealt a setback when No. 4 runner Shadee Duarte dropped out of the race after straining ligaments in her right ankle.

Duarte, a junior, was injured in the second mile, when she ran on uneven terrain. She is expected to be sidelined at least three weeks.

Chino Don Lugo, paced by first-place Fitsum Tesfa, won its second consecutive boys' sweepstakes title.

Tesfa, a junior, clocked 14:56 to finish two seconds ahead of Rancho Cucamonga senior Andrew Trinidad and better the course record of 15:03 set by Erick Maldonado of Don Lugo last year.

Don Lugo, The Times' top-ranked boys' team, finished with 66 points. Murrieta Valley and Rancho Cucamonga each had 89 points, but No. 2 Murrieta Valley was awarded second place because it had a higher finish by its No. 6 runner.

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