REV boys take top five spots to win cross-country title

Redlands East Valley, led by eventual Citrus Belt League champion Matthew Casillas, left, dominated at Yucaipa Regional Park, claiming the top five spots in the field to end Yucaipa High School's 8-year run as CBL champions.

CROSS COUNTRY NOTES: Redlands East Valley delivers boys title … Lady T-Birds dominate CBLs again … Fernandez-Romero aid CV’s third place boys’ run … U of R’s Cargile part of a unique SCIAC finish.

YUCAIPA — Matthew Casillas finished 13 seconds ahead of all comers, claiming this year’s Citrus Belt League boys’ cross country title, then had a chance to turn around and see a narrow finish for second place.

It turned out that Cole Cooper edged Simon Opsahl.

A few ticks later, Matthew Hornung and Liam Mapes crossed the finish line at Yucaipa Regional Park.

All five runners, it turns out, wore Redlands East Valley High School red-and-white striped colors, finishing with a perfect 15-point score. In the process, the Wildcats dethroned eight-time defending champion Yucaipa (60) with Citrus Valley (71) taking third.

Any worries, Casillas was asked?

“Like I might get tripped, or someone getting my heels (from behind), or runners catching up to me.”

Brooklyn Timm, Sophia Cantuba, Itzel Del Rio, Bridget McNamara and Kira Hooper accounting for 13-16-21-23-25 in the scoring.

Getting the edge on Citrus Valley, REV’s Ashlyn Walker, Mary Goebel, Sherry Cockerill, Jordan Dennert and Audrey Yoh inched its way into the runner-up spot.

Yucaipa’s dominance prevailed, the Lady T-Birds taking the top seven spots. Casillas, meanwhile, made this just his fourth run at Yucaipa Regional Park. “I’ve never come up here to run other than in the finals. I think that would make me more nervous.”

Carved into the side of Yucaipa’s mountainous terrain, Casillas says the course doesn’t compare favorably with legendary Mt. San Antonio College’s course — site of many top cross country events.

“This is a lot more flat,” he said. “Mt. SAC is a lot more hilly.”

By winning in 15:11, no one would trip Casillas. Nor would they clip his heels or chase him down from behind.

In two previous CBL mini-meets, REV dominated. That doesn’t mean, however, that Yucaipa — a long and dominant distance-running force — might not have a game plan saved up for CBLs.

“I knew they were going to take it out fast,” said Casillas. “Our endurance is better.”

By the first mile, Casillas said, “our five was in front of everybody.” REV’s top five has performed like this all season, most recently a 31-54 Boys Sweepstakes victory over Eastvale Roosevelt at the Inland Empire Challenge on Oct. 12 at Glen Helen Park.

Wildcats’ coach Matthew Sartori said,“We’ve won every race we’ve been in this year, except finishing 10th at the Woodbridge Invitational.” REV wasn’t operating at full strength at that meet, he said.

CBL was the goal in sight. It’s a nice feeling, he said. Worries?

“I wasn’t worried. We put in the work.”

Truth is, coaches always worry about sleep or diet, plus illness and injury. In fact, injury claimed Cooper last season — stress fracture — that killed REV’s likely CBL championship.

Instead, Yucaipa claimed its eighth straight CBL crown. Casillas and Cooper, back for their senior seasons, held the key to REV’s chances.

Sartori views the T-Birds’ program as one of the most elite he’s ever seen. “They’re a good team still. They’ve had great runners. They’ve been to state.”

Challenges for REV, said Sartori, included “keeping them motivated. Having fun. Making sure all the kids are healthy. It’s gone by so fast this season.”

Citrus Valley’s third-place finish included Christian Fernandez and Ethan Romero claiming 8-9 points for the Blackhawks.

Fernandez, in 16:11.2, barely nosed out Romero’s 16:12.9 finish.

Juan Montes, Joseph Maytan and Arian Mayorga accounted for the 13-17-24 finishes in CV’s top five scoring.

This likely gets the Blackhawks into the CIF-Southern Section Regionals on Nov. 16 in Riverside.

REV, meanwhile, locked into a nice little duel for second place in the girls’ portion — Yucaipa’s perfect finish, 15 points, winning yet another CBL title.

Yucaipa’s Danielle Gee finished well ahead of everyone in 17:57.

Citrus Valley’s third place finish, 91-98, behind REV, included

COLLEGE CROSS COUNTRY

University of Redlands distance star Tucker Cargile forged his way to a fourth place finish at last weekend’s SCIAC Championships at Pomona-Pitzer College.

In the men’s team portion, however, it came down to a remarkable duel between Sixth Street rivals Claremont-Mudd College and Pomona-Pitzer College, campuses located right across the street from each other in Claremont.

The two sides finished the 8-kilometer race knotted at 31-31. Tiebreakers go to the team’s sixth best runner. In this case, Claremont prevailed when its No. 6 runner outdueled Pomona-Pitzer’s runner by one spot, 12th and 13th.

There was a difference of six seconds in that placement.

Cargile, a finalist in last spring’s men’s NCAA Division III 800-meter finals, was the only non-runner from either school in the top 16.

Redlands finished a distant third place (101 points).