Carlie Dorostkar, Sage Creek Gals Highlight San Diego Finals

 Sage Creek's girls celebrate a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 run to the Division 4 title. (Credit: Steve Brand)


SAN DIEGO -- Canyon Crest's Carlie Dorostkar clocked a 16:28.8 3-mile time that was almost 30 seconds faster than 2018 State Meet champion Kristin Fahy of La Costa Canyon ran, Francis Parker's boys proved their No. 2 ranking was legit, Sage Creek's girls were historically perfect, and flu-slowed La Costa Canyon senior Caleb Niednagel confirmed that he will run in Fresno among the highlights from Saturday's CIF-San Diego Section Championships at Morley Field.  

Dorostkar was one of four 2018 girls division champions to repeat. Bella Longo (Mission Vista in Division 3), Skyler Wallace (Sage Creek in Division 4) and Alaina Zamorano (El Cajon Christian in D5) where the others. The only returning boys champion, Riley Burns (Maranatha in D5) placed second.

Here's a division-by-division look at the SDS Championships:


Boys Division I

Following in the footsteps of Foot Locker National champion Marc Davis and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, San Diego High's Henry McClish ran the fastest time overall in the heat of the day, 15:15.8, winning his race by eight second over Oceanside El Camino's Antonio Dinis.

"It's the best feeling in the world to join legends like that," said McClish after running in the shadow of his high school less than quarter-mile away. "Just to be in the conversation with runners with competed in the Olympics and were national champions is amazing.

"I've been dreaming of winning CIF since the start of the season. I told myself 'don't be passive, be aggressive. I decided I'd go hard and if someone beat me, so be it."

Torrey Pines, as expected, captured the team title 100-130. 

Girls Division I

Immediately after the gun went off, Dorostkar sped into the lead and it seemed each step of the way she added to her lead as her 16:28.8 was the only runner under 17.

She was asked if she was the state favorite in the division.

"I don't feel like I'm the state favorite because I'm focusing on our team," said Dorostkar, a senior who said she has not decided where she's going to college. "I know I'm good but not that good. I've made some adjustments this year that have worked."

The Ravens' Elizabeth Emberger placed second as Canyon Crest scored just 44 points with four runners in the top 11. That far outdistanced Del Norte's 72 in second place.

Rancho Bernardo soph, Jacey Farmer, who has struggled this year after finishing 14th at state last year, did not qualify.


Boys Division II

La Costa Canyon captured the individual title but it was Andy Pueschel getting the honors, not Niednagel who finished 12th while still feeling the effects of a bad case of the flu.

Pueschel stayed with the pack until taking off to edge Poway's Zak Beckwith by four seconds in 15:21.2. 

"I certainly didn't expect this at the beginning of the year because of Caleb," said the senior. "All of us were thinking team. We had to run hard to make the State Meet."

"Give Caleb some credit, he and the Stanford twins last year helped change the tradition at La Costa Canyon."

The Mavericks certainly needed Niednagel's 12th place finish to place second behind Poway, giving Niednagel another week to get healthy.

"The doctors said I'd be OK by next weekend," he said. "My legs are fine, I just can't breathe. I'm really looking forward to state."


Girls Division II

La Costa Canyon's Sydney Weaber captured the closest race of the day when she beat Mt. Carmel's Navaya Zales, 17:44.9 to 17:45.3.

The two traded leading until Weaber timed her kick perfectly, collapsing across the finish line.

"My legs gave out at the finish," said the junior after catching her breath. "I put it all in the finish; I had nothing left. I leaned forward so much my leg gave way. There was so much noise and there wasn't any sun so I couldn't tell for sure where Navaya was."

Mt. Carmel surprised both Poway and La Costa Canyon in the team race although all three qualify for state. The Sundevils, with Zales leading the way, beat Poway by four points, 57-61, with LCC the third state qualifier with 86 points. 


Boys Division III

Cathedral Catholic's Max Wilson and Blake Levy finished 1-2 with Wilson winning at 15:38.8.

"I heard our coaches yelling 'it's you two,' and that was good to know," said Wilson, a senior. "I was injured last year for league, CIF and State -- I'm happy to be back. I was suffering from serious shin splints but over the summer they went away.

"The big thing was helping Cathedral achieve a CIF title. That's a huge weight off my back."

The Dons easily outdistanced Lakeside El Capitan, 64-125 with all five scorers in the top 25.


Girls Division III

Mission Vista's Bella Longo defended her crown when she clocked a 17:39.9 to win by 35 seconds over El Cap freshman Amber Chase.

At the finish line she was much more concerned about whether her team made the state meet and when it was announced they secured the fourth team spot for Fresno, she screamed in jubilation and found more speed to run join her teammates in celebration.

"My only goal was to win for the team," said Longo who improved her time by almost 10 seconds. "I've worked on my confidence this year as well as my kick -- I had no kick last year. I started slower than I wanted but I felt so good in this weather (70 degrees and mostly sunny).

"Once I got the lead I focused on not getting caught."

Not a chance.

Cathedral Catholic, led by Trang Woolridge's fourth place, won the team championship with a scant 39 points, placing all five scorers in the first 11 places.


Boys Division IV

San Diego High Tech High's Reed Harris, a senior, pulled away to finish first in 15:38.7-18 seconds ahead of Sage Creek's Bryce Gilmore.

"He was right behind me from the start," said Harris, who has been battling shin splints that he says he doesn't notice when he runs but are painful after the race. "I lost the lead going up the (notorious Upas St.) hill but I love going down. I just let my legs go.

"I wasn't much into cross country my first two years. I really wasn't motivated to change things around. But before this year I got motivated and coming into this meet, I expected to do well and yes, win."

Crawford's team victory set off the largest celebration of the day as the Colts let out a huge roar when it was announced an 18-point win over Sage Creek behind Byaombe Mloko's fourth place finish.


Girls Division IV

Meet announcer Don Jones could barely contain himself as the runners entered the final straight and Bobcat after Bobcat streamed in led by Skyler Wallace who posted a winning time of 17:32.4 to finish ahead of sister Stormy for the second straight year.

It was believed to be the first time any San Diego team went 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.

"I took it easy the first and third miles but I pushed the second," said Skyler, which explained how she pulled away as the Bobcats achieved one of their goals by posting the fastest team time of the day, 1:31.56 to Canyon Crest's 1:31.57.

"This was really just an elevated workout before state."

Stormy is right back where she was last year after struggling early this year.

"This was my best race of the year," said the soph who clocked an 18:00.9. "Every year is different but I know I can still run faster."


Boys Division V

Behind Kenan Pala's win over defending champion Riley Burns of Maranatha Christian in 15:32.7, Francis Parker, ranked second in the state, got a solid victory over No. 3 Santa Fe Christian, 45-79.

"(Burns) beat me by four seconds in the Coastal League meet and losing that race pumped me up for today," said Pala, who was injured and didn't get to run in the section finals a year ago. He is a member of Parker team that will return intact next year.

They strode step-for-step with Pala doing most of the front-end work. He made his move with two-tenths of a mile to go to, as he said, 'try to discourage him.' Although Burns had matched every one of Pala's previous moves, this time he could not catch up.

So, the question of which team is No. 1 in San Diego was answer decidedly. Now the Lancers will see how they fare against No. 1 San Francisco University at state.


Girls Division V

Alaina Zamorano won her third consecutive gold medal for El Cajon Christian, clocking an 18:14.7 to leave Eloise Martenson in her wake by 29 seconds.

"My legs didn't feel very good today," admitted Zamorano, who didn't appear to have as much zip but won handily nonetheless. "I think I was too nervous. My time is faster than last year but not as fast as when I was a freshman when (La Jolla Country Day's) Lexi Watkins pushed me.

"I was mostly by myself and it's hard to push. I am really hard on myself. I think I went out too hard the first mile and really wanted to go for time today."

With Martenson and third place finisher Revere Schmidt leading the way, Santa Fe Christian scored just 36 points for the team title.