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THS’ Barton top runner in final league meet

Other locals shine at Donnelly Park, improve personal-best times

THS’ Barton top runner in final league meet

Pitman High’s Jami Ford was the top local female finisher at Wednesday’s Central California Conference Center Meet at Donnelly after the junior runner took 14th overall in the varsity girls’ 3-mile...

POSTED October 29, 2011 12:04 a.m.

Though seemingly out of breath, Ron Barton walked past race officials and other runners around the finish line area and found a tree to lean on — well beyond his team’s designated park tables, while other finishers slapped hands and talked about their performance.

No one was around him.

He wanted to be alone.

In terms of time, he had completed his best race of the cross country season at the third and final Central California Conference Center Meet at gorgeous Donnelly Park, where runners from all six league teams came together to shatter personal-best marks. Others, like Barton, had a chance for some glory.

After battling a slower-than-expected start, the Turlock High senior earned the best local finish on a windy Wednesday morning and took seventh overall in the varsity boys’ 3-mile race with a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds. Teammate Miles Urquidez was not far behind, as he sprinted the last few hundred feet — a path stuck between towering Redwood trees and a crowd of supporters on both sides — to take 10th place just 32 seconds later.

That last-ditch finish put Urquidez ahead of Pitman High’s Carlos Casas (17:08) and Richard Ketscher (17:09), who placed 11th and 12th.

The Bulldogs (74 points) took third in the team standings, and Pitman (96 points) finished fifth out of six teams. Starting at the edge of the storm basin, where the geese and ducks roamed nearby, the runners logged three laps around the 40-acre park and finished among the Redwoods.

Meanwhile, Buhach Colony High (just 23 points) hogged the top spots. The Thunder successfully defended their league title for the third consecutive time by having five runners in the top 10 (first place gets one point, second place gets two points and so forth).

Atwater High’s Abraham Alvarado had the top time of 15:42.

Officially, this was not the league championship race. Essentially, it was deemed otherwise. This was the last chance to rack up team wins after two previous league races. This was the final league race before the Subsection Meet of the Sac-Joaquin Section on Nov. 5 at Frogtown in Angels Camp, where Barton said he hopes his Bulldogs can overcome and advance to the Section Meet a week later.

Barton, who took third and fifth in the two previous league meets, said he could’ve done better Wednesday. Though it was his best time of the season, his start was slow. He spent a good chunk of his race trying to pass up runners, including a teammate or two. He finally broke out toward the end, where he used every last breath to finish 13 seconds ahead of the runner behind him.

“I guess the competition stepped it up,” Barton said after regaining his breath. “That’s good. The more people you have to race the better.”


Pitman’s Ford, THS’ Ndem top local girl finishers


Maintaining a good pace, Pitman High junior Jami Ford clocked a time of 20:20 in the varsity girls’ 3-mile run to take 14th overall at the CCC Center Meet on Wednesday at Donnelly Park. The next local runner to finish was Turlock High senior Joy Ndem, who placed 22nd in 21:01.

Pitman (126 points) and Turlock (146 points) took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the team standings.

With the first-place finish by Cassidy Heckman (18:34), the Atwater Falcons won the league title with 46 points.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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