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Mustang Harriers Take On VOL Cluster Meet
10-6 OAK XC1
Oakdale senior Haily Macedo works to overtake a runner and ultimately finish third overall in varsity girls cross country action at Legion Park in Modesto. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER
The 103-degree temperature at the finish line wasn’t exactly much of a cool-down for the hundreds of Valley Oak League cross country runners on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at Legion Park in Modesto.
It was especially difficult for a group of Oakdale varsity girls, who competed without top runner, Liz Erwin, and Homecoming Queen candidate/senior standout Sara Aguayo.
With both girls unable to compete, Oakdale’s prolific girls team slipped to a third place finish among eight teams at the first VOL cluster meet.
“The team struggled with the heat and this affected them mentally more than anything,” Oakdale coach Guy Fowler said. “We will need to work a little more on our running and the mental aspect of competing, but I think we will rebound from this and be a much tougher team as the year moves along.”
The Oakdale varsity girls lost to Sierra and East Union, but topped Kimball, Manteca, Sonora, Lathrop and Weston Ranch in the league’s cluster dual format. Haily Macedo led the Lady Mustangs with a strong late push to finish third overall at 21 minutes, 50 seconds on the grueling 5,000-meter course. Marieke Delzer, Ariana Barajas, Jackie Bauman and Kayla Alfaro followed in respective order, Delzer nabbing a 23:08 time.
“The girls were missing two of their top five runners and still managed to keep themselves in the running for the league championship,” Fowler said.  “Overall the Mustangs did not have a very good day according to the standards that the athletes set for themselves.”
The Oakdale varsity boys fought to improve times, but went 3-4 against VOL programs after a 10th place overall finish from Erick Padilla (18:56).  Bryan Berst finished in 20:05, while Jose Ibarra, Louie Brichetto and Andrew Markel followed soon after.
A pair of runners recruited by football coach Hondo Arpoika led Oakdale High’s frosh-soph teams. Cameron Elswick, who Arpoika convinced to join cross country during physical education, finished his 3,000-meter course in 13:14 to lead Oakdale to a 6-1 dual record. Josue Baez, Fernando Brambila, Kevin Trujillo and Alex Rodriguez all turned in sub-14 minute times as well.
An Arpoika recommended Joselyn Garcia led a small cast of Oakdale frosh-soph girls with her 18:52 time on the same course. Tatiana Barrera ran a 20:48 time as well.
Oakdale boys and girls are at the Escalon Invitational today (3:30 p.m.) at Woodward Reservoir.