The Southern California Roadrunners advanced four age group teams with a total of 36 runners to the USATF Junior Olympic National cross country championships to be held in Madison, Wis. After competing at the Region XV USATF cross country championships held at Kit Carson Park in Escondido on Sunday, Nov. 24.
The team ran against the top runners from Southern California from Ventura, San Gabriel, Orange County, Los Angels County, San Fernando Valley, San Diego, Las Vegas and southern Nevada and Hawaii and qualified for the junior Olympic nationals by placing among the top 5 teams or top 30 individuals.
The Roadrunners raced well with several club records set on the course.
The 13-14 boys team won the race led by Ethan Romero, a Citrus Valley High School freshman who placed second overall with 13:20 on the 4,000-meter hill course, besting Roadrunner alumni Phillip Rocha’s club record of 13:23 set in 2011.
Edgar Haro, a Norco freshman, was fourth with 13:26; Juan Montes.
The team scored 38 points to win the team title over South Orange County Wildcats, Valley United (San Fernando Valley), Instride (Downey), Lightning (Anaheim/Santa Ana). There were eight teams competing.
The 13-14 girls team placed fourth overall behind Gabriella Romero's, of Beattie Middle School, 10th place finish with a time of 15:22.74 on the 4,000-meter course. Others on the team were Itzel Del Rio, of Citrus Valley, and Amanda Lynch, of Cajon.
The team will be joined by Allura Markow, a Dana Hills freshman and longtime San Bernardino County resident who is competing at the California high school state cross country championships Saturday in Fresno.
The 11-12 boys placed second, just two points behind Lightening. Bradley Quezada, a Riverside sixth grader, was second on the 3,000-meter hill course with 10:16.24. Richard Olivares, of Highland, was fifth with 10:28.50. There were seven teams in competition.
Smooth Watkins will join the team at Nationals after sitting out competition due to injury.
The 11-12 girls team improved to second after placing third at the SCA championships. Hailey Collinsworth, of Beattie, will rejoin the team at Nationals
Individual qualifiers were Jesus Saldanda in the 9-10 boys 3,000-meter run placing 23rd, Natalie Gonzalez taking fifth in the 9-10 girls division and Abrielle Ontiveros taking 14th.
Isabelle Castenada, of Highland, was 48th in the 9-10 girls race and did not advance. The 8-under division competed on the 2,000-meter course with Cristopher Quezada, of Riverside, taking 22nd and Paradise Watkins, of Rancho Cucamonga, taking 23rd in the 8-under girls division.