Cross country: Piner boys win Ukiah Invitational

By JIM CROWHURST
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

UKIAH — The Piner boys and Arcata girls led the way for both the individual and team crowns at the Yoshaany Rahm Invitational on Saturday at Ukiah High School.

In the varsity boys race, a great three-way battle ensued on the over the 5,000-meter course. Ukiah’s Paul Holden did most of the front-running throughout the hills and vineyards on the campus course, as Piner’s Jaime Silva, the eventual winner, and Cloverdale’s Joe Carrillo ran right on his heels.

“It’s always exciting to race Holden,” Silva said. “My plan going in was to let whichever of the other two take the lead and make my move somewhere in the hills. I’m the lightest of the three of us, so I figured I could go up the hills easier than them.”

It wasn’t until after the final hill that Silva began what would be the final move to try and lose the other two. With 200 meters left in the race, Silva had opened up a 20-meter lead over Holden, but Holden put on a hard finishing kick to fall just six-tenths of a second short of catching Silva as both finished with an official time of 16:16.

Carrillo held on to third with 16:25, followed by Piner’s Efren Reyes (16:33), Ukiah’s Noah Taxis (17:21), San Rafael’s Joey Morris (17:26) and Liberty’s Jesus Morales (17:28). Piner coach Luis Rosales decided to leave all his seniors, including Luis Luna, at home today to show the team how strong it will be next year. Even without the seniors, the Prospectors won the boys race with 46 points, while San Rafael, Arcata and Ukiah all scored 72.

In the girls race, it was all Arcata. Eventual winner Jazmen McGinnis said, “The plan before the race was for our top five girls to all run together for the first three miles before racing to the end.” That plan worked for their top three as McGinnis, Vera Heidman and Elizabeth Ford broke away from the rest of the field midway through the race.

Heidman led most of the race. “It kind of goes back and forth between myself and Heidman on who our top runner is,” McGinnis said.

Like the boys race, McGinnis saw her final breakaway lead begin to evaporate as they neared the finish. Only a final burst of speed at the end held off her fast closing teammates.

“I knew I only could sprint the last 100 meters with what I had left, so I waited until then,” McGinnis said.

Final times had McGinnis at 21:16 with Ford and Heidman at 21:19. Mendocino’s Erin Thomas led the rest of the pack in fourth at 22:12, followed by Arcata’s Sara Davis (22:24), Liberty’s Cora Williams (22:30) and Arcata’s Zoe Ziegler (22:34).

More cross country coverage at running.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.