It wasn’t Milena Glusac’s day, but the Fallbrook junior nevertheless crossed the finish line nearly 44 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the girls’ Division I race at the Section cross-country championships.
In the boys’ Division II race, it was Daniel Das Neves’ day. Das Neves, a 19-year-old junior at Helix couldn’t shake a surprising challenge by San Pasqual’s Nazario Romero, who stayed shoulder to shoulder with Das Neves for most of the race.
But Das Neves got help when the two leaders were coming out of one of the course’s many loops and another runner bumped into Romero, causing him to fall and watch Das Neves speed by.
Das Neves was happy about his effort. Glusac was not.
Her time tells why. She finished in 14 minutes 31.6 seconds, after running a 14:30 in the same race on the same course (2.45 miles) a year ago.
It was the first race this season in which Glusac did not improve on her time over last season.
“My legs were so tight today, they wouldn’t even move,” Glusac said after the race, one in which she uncharacteristically lost her gaping stride. “My quads weren’t responding at all.”
Still, she was well ahead of second-place Susan Scott of Mt. Carmel, who finished at 15:15.3. But Glusac was visibly upset.
“But it’s not like this is my last race,” she said. “I still have lots of races to go.”
Possibly three more this season. Next week Glusac will be one of two favorites in the state championships at Fresno. A week later she will be back in Fresno for the Kinney National Western Regional. If all goes well there, she will return to Morley Field on Dec. 14 as the hometown favorite in the Kinney National Championship.
As for Das Neves, he said Saturday was his day to go out and see how hard he could run. He finished in 15:24.5, the fastest time in the boys’ races and 12 seconds better than his 1990 effort.