In the spotlight
Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 19 2014 03:13 PM (photo from Living East – LINK)
Among varsity individuals, Eastlake freshman Leyla McFarland strode to a second-place finish in the 88-deep, 2.3-mile girls Blue Division race with a time of 13:50.74 —20 seconds behind race-winner Christa Kloha of Westview.
McFarland edged Otay Ranch senior Darla Osuna (13:53.49) by three seconds for the top finishing spot among Metro Conference runners in the race to firmly place her name among runners to watch this season.
Osuna is a returning two-time state meet qualifier.
“It feels good,” McFarland said somewhat shyly.
A total of four Mesa League runners managed impressive top 10 finishes in the race. Bonita Vista junior Izabela Garcia-Arce placed eighth in 14:24.87 while Otay Ranch senior Alicia Huerta finished 10th in 14:32.82.
Eastlake scored 130 points as the top Metro team in the division — six points ahead of the fifth-place Barons and 28 points in front of the seventh-place Mustangs. Olympian was more distant with 192 points — 34 points behind Otay Ranch — while Sweetwater finished 13th (last in the field) with 367 points.
Steele Canyon won the division title with 66 points, followed in second place by Westview (97 points) and Scripps Ranch (103 points).
The Titans placed their five scorers among the top half of the field.
Place-finishers in the top third of the field also included Eastlake sophomore Emily Bonilla (13th, 14:39.90), Bonita Vista junior Marleen Aranda (16th, 14:42.61), Otay Ranch sophomore Eyra Alfaro (21st, 14:49.60) and Olympian senior Isabella Fernandez (22nd, 15:53.39).
Eastlake coach Mark Coziahr said his team is hoping to continue the momentum with which it finished last season.
“Our goals this year are definitely to repeat as Mesa League champions and have a strong showing at CIF,” he said.
Osuna, one of the conference’s most decorated runners, said she believes her team can compete for a league championship this season.
“We’re more of a new team this year, so we were just trying see where we were at and relax,” she explained. “I just wanted to relax out there and do the best I could, and it paid off, I got third place.”
Eastlake turned in a blockbuster showing in the girls JV race as freshmen Fiona Nielsen (first, 11:07.84) and Jennifer Pham (second, 11:11.22) finished at the top of the massive 254-deep, 1.65-mile Blue Division girls JV race.
As a team, the Titans placed four of their five scorers among the top 10 place-finishers and all five of their scorers among the top 13 individuals. The only team to better Eastlake in the race was Valhalla, which scored a division low 30 points to edge the Metro front-runner by four points.
Valhalla positioned itself for the win with a 3-4-5-6-12 scoring edge.
Bonita Vista junior Justine Holden (11:29.35) broke up the Eastlake and Valhalla monopoly by squeezing in a seventh-place individual finish.
The Titans’ five scorers also included freshman Mackenzie Kimmel (eighth, 11:31.55) and juniors Venia Pena (10th, 11:34.21) and Harper Moulton (13th, 11:41.45).
Among those placing among the top 10 percent of the finishers in the race were Bonita Vista junior Michelle Steele (19th, 11:49.67), Olympian junior Malaika Harris (21st, 11:52.61), Eastlake senior Alice Langford (23rd, 12:00.52) and Eastlake freshman Natalie Bautista (25th, 12:05.75). – See more at: http://www.thestarnews.com/sports/eagles-titans-put-best-feet-forward-at-mustang-invitational/#sthash.FL0L5pGL.dpuf