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Bulldog runners set up for final stretch in last league dual

Alhambra senior Erica Cardinale (pictured above at Artichoke Invitational) nearly broke the 20-minute mark in her three-mile race on Oct. 26, 2016, clocking in at 20:05.3.  (DARREN CHAVEZ / Courtesy)
Alhambra senior Erica Cardinale (pictured above at Artichoke Invitational) nearly broke the 20-minute mark in her three-mile race on Oct. 26, 2016, clocking in at 20:05.3. (DARREN CHAVEZ / Courtesy)

By JOEL TIMBRELL
Martinez Tribune

The season’s second Diablo Athletic League dual meet was held at Newhall Park in Concord on Wednesday, Oct. 26. It was there that Alhambra battled ten other teams, including the longtime rival College Park Falcons.

Junior Varsity and Frosh/Soph runners competed at the 2-mile distance, and varsity athletes raced on the 3-mile course.

The Frosh/Soph boys race started at 3:30 p.m. Dean Sobhy was the first Bulldog to cross the line in a time of 13 minutes, 44 seconds. Teammate Caleb Banez finished his race less than a minute later, posting a 14:36.

No Alhambra girls ran in the Frosh/Soph or JV races, so the next notable performances occurred in the junior varsity boys 2-mile.

Juniors Shayan Mirzazadeh and Jaime Ayala ran together much of the race, and ended up just seven seconds apart as Mirzazadeh clocked a 14:21 and Ayala with a 14:28.

It takes five people from the same school in a race to make a team. The Varsity boys, with a total of six Bulldog runners, were the only ones who qualified for team scoring during the day. Out of a field of 77 people, Senior Connor Hayes finished well within the top half, running a fast 17:09 for 31st place.

Robert Viano was Alhambra’s second scorer. He finished the course in 17:24, a season record time and improvement by 23 seconds.

Two of the usual varsity runners (Noa Nabeshima and Trevor Oliveira-Smith) were absent on Wednesday. Fortunately, two Frosh/Soph runners stepped up to the varsity 3-mile distance to run in their place.

Previous multiple medalist and freshman Carson Edwards, in his first 3-mile distance ever, ran an incredible race and broke the 18 minute barrier in a time of 17:59.8. The time makes Edwards one of the fastest freshman Bulldog runners in recent memory.

Graham Manning (18:30) and Gabe Winslow (18:47) were the fourth and fifth scorers for Alhambra. When the points were added up at the end of the meet, they scored well enough to defeat Berean Christian, Concord, and Ygnacio Valley.

The final race saw four of the Varsity girls compete at the 3-mile distance.

Top North Coast Section runner and 2015 State qualifier Marissa D’Atri had another fantastic performance at Newhall Park.

With her 18 minute and 50 second time, D’Atri secured sixth place. State-ranked Campolindo runners Hannah Ruane and Isabella Chao took first and second.

Rapidly improving Erica Cardinale ran her second fastest ever 3-mile time of 20:05.3, which placed 24th out of 61 opponents. Sophomore Nicole Tria posted yet another impressive mark of 20:43, and Isa Mendoza was fourth for the team in 25:47.

The DAL Championships will take place at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez on Saturday, Nov. 5, where all 12 schools in the league will send runners to compete.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 19, select Varsity runners will be chosen to participate in the North Coast Section Championships at Hayward High School.

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