Liberty Ranch boys varsity finished on the podium with a third place finish out of 28 teams at the first major meet of the year at Lagoon Valley in Vacaville on Sept. 7. Led by seniors Cristian Martinez with a third place finish out of 270 runners and a time of 16:31, Braden Birkes not far behind in 15th (17:15) and Daniel Gonzalez, who finished 30th (17:55).
“The sophomore class really pulled it together with strong finishes to secure the team spot on the podium for Liberty Ranch. We had seven runners under the 19:09 mark, and never has that been done here,” said coach Brian Robinson.
Sophomores were led by Sean Nietschke (18:18), Raghav Vasudevan (18:38), Cole Parker (18:43) and Cyrus Walker (19:09), with Asher Voyles finishing not far behind at 20:42. Asher has been battling back problems for the last couple years and is getting healthy for the first time in a long time. “Lagoon Valley this year has the best team start ever, so as long as we can keep everyone healthy, it is going to be a good year. Cristian hasn’t really raced a cross country race his entire high school career and turned in a time that could qualify for state championships in his very first race.”
In the girls’ division, Liberty Ranch was led by Xianna Morales in 35th running 16:18 for the two mile course, followed by Anastasia Contreras (18:20), Luisa Contreras (19:15), Olivia Torres (19:42) and freshman Madison Coleman at 20:31.
Junior varsity boys had a good showing with Ryan Franklin leading the pack for Liberty at 14:04, followed by Spencer Birkes 14:31, Blake Rogers 14:56, Tate Storms 15:26, Isaac Gonzalez 15:49, Timothy Corcoran 15:50, Jeffrey Raboy 16:45, Jason Blumberg 17:01 and freshman Christian Renteria 19:01.
“Lagoon Valley is one of the toughest races for the season, because the hills are so steep and long, and every one of our runners lowered their time from last year with Braden and Danny bettering themselves around one minute. Definitely a positive start to the season,” Robinson said.
The Hawks’ next meet is the Sierra Valley Conference meet at Folsom Lake College.