Gordon Weisenburger retired after last season, but the former Belmont High cross-country coach has not been forgotten.
Weisenburger, 60, attended the City Section cross-country finals Nov. 20 at Pierce College, his first Belmont meet since his retirement.
The Sentinels did not disappoint their former mentor, winning the boys' varsity, junior varsity, frosh-soph and girls' team titles to become only the second school to sweep all four divisions in the same season. Belmont also accomplished that feat in 1990.
"It was so gratifying," said Belmont Coach Alex Carmona, 28, a former runner under Weisenburger at Belmont. "The kids ran with the ghosts of tradition."
The boys won their second consecutive title, and the girls won an unprecedented fifth in a row. In 17 seasons at Belmont, Weisenburger guided Belmont to nine City boys' championships--including seven in a row from 1982 to 1988--and four girls' titles.
Belmont's Ricardo Valenzuela won the individual title, covering the three-mile course in 15 minutes, 19 seconds, holding off runner-up Humberto Sanchez of South Gate by five seconds. Valenzuela is the Sentinels' second individual champion in four years.
Teammates Juan Olivos (16:11), Yohannes Measho (16:18) and Manuel Lopez (16:23) were 11th, 13th and 14th, as the Sentinels won with 52 points. Birmingham and Palisades were second and third with 91 and 109 points.
Imelda Flores (19:42) and Yolanda Gomez (19:52) finished second and third in the girls' race. Belmont placed five runners among the top 12 to win with 35 points, followed by Huntington Park and Garfield with 114 and 120.
The day before the City finals, Weisenburger held to a longstanding tradition he started at Belmont. He joined alumni in giving motivational speeches to the Sentinel cross-country teams.
Weisenburger was greeted with a standing ovation.
In the Southern Section finals Nov. 20 at Mt. San Antonio College, Jason Barreda of Loyola was 11th in Division I in 15:44. Bell Gardens placed seventh in the team standings, with 26th- and 30th-place finishes by Richard Roybal (16:30) and Eduardo Diaz (16:40).
Genet Gorgis of Trade Tech clocked 17:58 for 5,000 meters to edge defending champion Emebet Shiferaw of Riverside by a second and win the State Community College championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 20.