By RONALD MILLER and GAEL PEREZ
Despite the rainy weather and cold breeze on Sept. 28, the soccer fields of California State University, San Bernardino were filled with runners and spectators as the Citrus Belt League held their first cross country league meet.
Citrus Valley High School sophomore Joseph Gaitan breaks away from Carter and Arian Mayorga to gain a lead. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
The Citrus Valley High School varsity cross country boys placed third amongst the six teams in the league with a score of 81 points. They were followed by Yucaipa High School with a score of 53 points and Redlands East Valley High School with a score of 19 points.
Redlands East Valley junior Simon Opsahl (left), senior Matthew Casillas (front) and Yucaipa High School’s Justin Brisco (right) lead the way as the race begins. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
Yucaipa High School runner Justin Briscoe breaks away from the pack and gains a large lead. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
Citrus Valley freshman Ethan Romero led the boys, followed by senior Christian Fernandez, freshman Juan Montes and sophomores Joseph Gaitan and Arian Mayorga as their scoring five boys. Juniors Karson Bussell and Frank Garcia followed behind as their sixth and seventh boys respectively.
Citrus Valley High School’s Aaron Esparza (left), Ethan Romero (front), Christian Fernandez (middle right) and Juan Montes (back) look for opportunities to move towards the front. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
As a young team with more than half of the top boys being underclassmen, Citrus Valley hopes to place among the top three in the Citrus Belt League and compete in the CIF Cross Country Preliminaries in November. The team astonished the league as they have been the underdog in rankings for the past two years.
Joseph Gaitan (left) and Arian Mayorga (right) pack together to push each other towards the finish line. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
Citrus Valley High School’s Arian Mayorga battles to stay in front of Yucaipa. (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
Redlands East Valley junior Liam Mapes leads the pack in front of Citrus Valley and Carter (Ronald Miller / Ethic Photo)
The young team is hopeful for the future, and they have aspirations to achieve feats Citrus Valley has never accomplished before. The competition is still ongoing and the second league meet will be held on the morning of Oct. 19, 2019 at Redlands East Valley High School.