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Fountain Valley boys take second in Central Park Invitational

Fountain Valley's Luke Dias crosses the finish line during the Central Park Invitational on Saturday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

After another heatwave rolled through Southern California this week, temperatures relented for those competing in the Central Park Invitational in Huntington Beach on Saturday morning.

The invitational, a high school cross-country meet hosted by Fountain Valley, may not have featured the Barons running at top speed, but nonetheless, their showing was a confidence-builder in each other.

Fountain Valley placed second behind Redondo Union, 52-111, in the Section 1 boys’ varsity race at the meet, demonstrating what the program’s depth might be able to overcome down the road.

After back-to-back chances to chase personal records on fast courses in the Woodbridge and Dana Hills meets, Fountain Valley boys’ cross-country coach Steve Knowles said the Barons were using their own event as a workout.

Nevertheless, the Barons ran near the top of the pack, with only a 65-second gap separating their first from their fifth runner. Luke Dias (seventh, 15 minutes 35.5 seconds), Diego Alonso (11th, 15:52.9), Benjamin Prado (19th, 16:05.0), Ethan Kwong (26th, 16:16.2) and Andrew Hsieh (51st, 16:40.3) factored into the scoring for Fountain Valley.

Edison's Wylie Cleugh sprints for the finish line during the Central Park Invitational on Saturday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Dias, a Surf League champion in the 800 meters in track and field last spring, found himself in front for the Barons, a spot often held by Prado. He said the team is a tight-knit group, as they all take up long-distance track events in the back half of the school year.

“If I’m having a struggle, let’s say down the hill and I’m struggling to keep up, and I see Ben and Diego right next to me, it’s going to give me a sense of courage,” Dias said. “It’ll bring out like a sense of warmth, that we can do it, we’re in a group together and we can actually push forward.”

Edison senior Wylie Cleugh (sixth, 15:34.8) finished just in front of Dias, serving as pacesetter for the local contingent, which was largely composed of Sunset Conference representation. The Chargers placed ninth out of 21 teams in the race.

Following her grade-level race victory in the Sunny Hills Wayne Walker Invitational, Corona del Mar junior Melisse Djomby-Enyawe led the area’s girls with a third-place run in 17:47.6.

When the Huntington Beach Union High School District turned to district dual meets for cross-country in the return of athletics from the coronavirus pandemic, it was the Marina girls that ran the table. The Vikings were able to do so with the leadership of Marikay Schwab (Cal State Fullerton) and Makena Castillo (UC Irvine), both of whom have gone on to run for Big West colleges.

Corona del Mar's Melisse Djomby-Enyawe competes during the Central Park Invitational on Saturday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Ella Murray, a junior for Marina, said she aspires to run at the next level, too, and she led her team with a time of 18:35.5 (14th).

“They were really strong and mentally strong,” Murray said of what she learned from running with Schwab and Castillo her freshman year. “I think I just learned that you need to take the step of leadership. You work hard for yourself, and you keep working hard. You bring up your team, and as you work on yourself, you work with your team, because you and your team are one.”

Trabuco Hills captured the girls’ team title — and the surfboard trophy that came with it.

Santa Ana’s Jimmy Dominguez (14:56.7) was the lone runner to break 15 minutes in the Section 1 boys’ race, while Redondo Union’s Lyla Fedio (17:17.8) was 28 seconds clear of Trabuco Hills’ Danica Brinkman in the Section 1 girls’ race.

BOYS’ CROSS-COUNTRY

Central Park Invitational

At Central Park, Huntington Beach

3-mile course

Section 1

Team Results

1. Redondo Union 52; 2. Fountain Valley 111; 3. Santa Ana 123; 4. Los Alamitos 131; 5. Canyon 169; 6. Warren 186; 7. Granada Hills Charter 223; 8. Coronado 234; 9. Edison 255; 10. Don Lugo 255; 14. Corona del Mar 333; Marina 519

Individuals

1. Dominguez (Santa Ana) 14:56.7; 2. Thomas (Redondo Union) 15:04.2; 3. Goetz (Canyon) 15:10.7; 4. Anguiano (Warren) 15:33.2; 5. Tranquilla (Venice) 15:33.8; 6. Cleugh (Edison) 15:34.8; 7. Dias (Fountain Valley) 15:35.5; 8. Divinity (Redondo Union) 15:39.1; 9. Newman (Canyon) 15:41.8; 10. Higgins (Coronado) 15:49.8; 29. Walsh (Corona del Mar) 16:19.8; 72. Plezia (Marina) 16:55.6

GIRLS’ CROSS-COUNTRY

Central Park Invitational

At Central Park, Huntington Beach

3-mile course

Section 1

Team Results

1. Trabuco Hills 68; 2. Redondo Union 99; 3. Los Alamitos 126; 4. Granada Hills Charter 152; 5. Coronado 185; 6. Santa Ana 193; 7. Warren 199; 8. Corona del Mar 231; 9. Canyon 241; 10. St. Mary’s Academy 242; 14. Marina 343

Individuals

1. Fedio (Redondo Union) 17:17.8; 2. Brinkman (Trabuco Hills) 17:45.8; 3. Djomby-Enyawe (Corona del Mar) 17:47.6; 4. Hsieh (Arcadia) 17:55.0; 5. Amezcua (Don Lugo) 18:07.7; 6. Lopez (Santa Ana) 18:09.2; 7. Huerta (Warren) 18:17.2; 8. Manns (Redondo Union) 18:19.1; 9. Oliva (Canyon) 18:19.5; 10. Holquin (Los Alamitos) 18:21.0; 14. Murray (Marina) 18:35.5; 48. Roque (Fountain Valley) 19:57.0

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