Valencia tops Brea Olinda in Brea Invitational
BREA – With only 40 teams, the Brea Invitational is one of the more intimate meets of the cross country season.
It also accurately describes the budding competition between two of central Orange County’s powers in the sport.
Resurgent Valencia edged second-ranked Brea Olinda, 45-61, Saturday in the boys meet of the 27th annual Brea Invitational at Carbon Canyon Regional Park.
The Brea Invitational utilizes a unique format. The varsity heats are split into three divisions, pitting the top two runners, the middle three, and the bottom two against each other to give the individuals in each race a chance to battle for the win.
In the boys 1-2 runners race, Rubidoux of Riverside’s Kevin Ramos (15:17) and Erik Gonzalez took the top two spots. The Wildcats and Tigers filled the next four spots, with Giovanni Orellana (Brea, 16:01), Ethan Frisone (Valencia, 16:07), Caleb Myers (Brea, 16:18), and Timo Dohm (Valencia, 16:32).
Dohm said running in the 1-2 runners race was tough because Valencia tends to run as a pack, but he was confident his team would prevail with a tight spread among its scoring quintet.
“I’m used to running with my teammates a little more,” Dohm said. “Our team runs so close together. There are just two in front of us, and then five of us coming after. I think we can get them.”
The Tigers did.
Jesus Moreno, Nery Tello, and David Pacheco took three of the top four spots for the Tigers in the 3-5 runners race. It wound up being enough for seventh-ranked Valencia (1:22:41) to clip Brea Olinda by two seconds on total team time.
Orellana, the third-place finisher and top county runner of the meet, said he was surprised by how close Valencia’s top-tier runners were to him throughout the race.
“I’m not going to lie, I was definitely shocked,” he said. “Valencia’s guy was on me the whole race. He was definitely hungry.”
The minor upset was not a major concern for Myers, considering the Wildcats’ workload.
Brea defeated No. 5 Canyon, 26-46, in the Crestview League Preview on Thursday. The Empire League Cluster was postponed due to heat, leaving the Tigers well-rested.
“Our top 10 are capable of running on any varsity team in the county,” Myers said.
Foothill junior Meagan Silves improved on her time at the meet from last year by more than three minutes. She ran a 21:37 to finish second in the girls 3-5 runners race.
“I’ve never done that before,” she said of running with the leaders. “It was really cool. It was exciting being in front and seeing the (pace) bike.”
Troy’s Sarabeth Johnson had the county’s top time of 21:21 (12th overall).