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Local runners to keep pace with new league format

Local runners to keep pace with new league format

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POSTED August 27, 2010 10:41 p.m.

For local cross country runners this season, there’s going to be more pressure to be healthy on the day of a meet.

This season, the Central California Conference will hold three league meets, also known as center meets, in which all six teams — Pitman, Turlock, Buhach Colony, Atwater, Merced and Golden Valley — race together before scores are tallied against each other.

Those three meets will be held in Atwater and Merced and at Donnelly Park in Turlock, with the latter being on Oct. 6.

It wasn’t like this last season, when teams had head-to-head or three-way meets.

The new format, Turlock High co-coach Mike Brown said, will require all runners to be ready and healthy for every crucial league meet. In past seasons, Brown said it was manageable if one or two runners weren’t available because they would make up for it in other meets or the league championship.

This year, there won’t be a true league championship meet.

The team with the best overall record from the three league meets wins it all.

“The bad thing is, if one kids is sick, that could affect your scoring,” said Brown. “It could make it really, really tough. It could change the outcome of a league champion by having three meets.”

With the logistics of the season finalized, all the local runners can do is, well, run. And they all hope to run well.

Pitman High is loaded with returners from last season, with seniors Frank Finch, Caleb Wittstruck and Andrew Garcia leading for the boys while senior Vicky Alvarado and juniors Jenna Fontes and Morgan Renshaw are taking charge of the girls team.

For Turlock, the Bulldogs will have leadership in seniors Jorge Guzman and Blake Mattos, junior Ron Barton and sophomores Jake Eyre and Jason Valdovinos on the boys’ side. The top girl runners are all seniors: Alisa Pennick, Amanda Garcia, Channing Wilson, Katie James and Hannah Bertomen.

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

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