The562’s coverage of cross country and track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial.
One might be tempted to describe Cameron Rhone’s three-mile time as “lightning fast” during Tuesday’s Signal Hill meet, but that might be too on the nose. In an effort to dodge the inclement weather, the boys’ varsity race started 10 minutes early, with runners seeing a lightning strike overhead during their first trip up the hill.
The weather would ultimately cause the girls’ race to be canceled, meaning there’s just one varsity result from Tuesday’s action.
Back down at the finish line, Rhone won his second straight Moore League meet with a terrific time of 15:43, finishing nearly 8 seconds ahead of Millikan’s Jason Parra (15:51) for the top spot. The Jackrabbits also won the team competition, 25-30 over Millikan. That gives Poly some revenge on the Rams who were winners at El Dorado two weeks ago, and sets up a compelling rubber match at league finals.
Even with less-than-ideal conditions on Tuesday, Rhone’s winning time was just three seconds shy of Poly’s course record, set by Aaron Durham back in 1999.
“I didn’t expect to start the race that quickly,” Rhone said of the accelerated start time. “I was looking at my watch and it said 4:40 so I thought ‘Oh, I’ve got time’ but then they rushed us to the line and said five more minutes. I thought they were going to cancel the meet so I was glad we got to run, it was a great race … I just really wanted to win again and I wanted to compete.”
Rhone ran a 16:47 at last year’s Signal Hill meet, meaning he dropped more than a minute off his time from one year ago. Parra won last year’s race, but finished second on Tuesday despite shaving 12 seconds off his previous time.
Poly head coach Cameron Ford continues to be impressed with how his senior leader has tapped into his potential, and knows there’s more to come from Rhone the rest of the year.
“It is certainly impressive,” Ford said of Rhone’s performances. “You always know of some potential that you have, but he's reaching for his ceiling, and very few people can actually reach the height of their potential. So it's exciting to see that someone like him can do that … His confidence is high, and it really just goes back to day one of summer practice. He hasn't missed one day.”
The Jackrabbits competed well as a group, running with their lineup much more intact than it was at El Dorado. Senior transfer Lamarr Kirk made his Moore League debut after his sit-out period ended, and he made an immediate impact with a third-place finish and a time of 16:40.41. He finished just ahead of teammate Luke Larson in fourth (16:40.75), giving Poly three of the first four finishers.
“I knew we were weak at the start of the season, just because of sicknesses, the sit-out period, and the guys weren't able to click,” said Ford of his lineup. “I guess we still have to wait for our perfect lineup to be made, but we knew if we're just down one guy, that's, that's easier than being down three or four.”
The Rams weren’t too far behind, with Eric Plascencia (16:43) and Jack Brown (16:44) running close together to take fifth and sixth, respectively. Gus Hollister was the top finisher for Wilson, placing seventh in 16:54.
Poly’s Mason Lindsay (16:58), Millikan’s Aiden Ransom (17:15) and Jordan’s Isaiah Williams (17:18) rounded out the Top 10 finishers. Gabriel Rojas was Lakewood’s top finisher in 17:59, placing 17th. Compton’s top finisher was Jesus Barrales (20:59, 30th) and Cabrillo’s top finisher was King Castro (21:36, 33rd).
There were no immediate updates available on whether the girls’ varsity race could be rescheduled. The562 will report on any new information regarding that race, which is officially canceled for now.
The Moore League cross country season will continue with league finals at Heartwell Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2.