When the hilly course was deemed too soggy by officials, a flatter backup course was used instead. The results were faster races but opinions differed about the course's advantage.
"I was actually looking forward to running the hilly course today. That's what I've been preparing for. But I'm used to running here. I know the lake like the back of my hand," said Deer Valley senior Ashley Hodges, who finished fifth overall in the 2.99-mile varsity girls race with a time of 19 minutes, 20 seconds. "It was a good race. I think I'm ready for NCS. I could have picked it up a lot more earlier in the race, but now I know what I need to do."
Antioch senior Mellie Regalado finished two places behind Hodges in seventh place with a time of 20:02. She too would have preferred a hillier course.
"She's not as strong on the flat parts," said Antioch coach Mike Amorosa of his top female runner. "She's really good going uphill. She's got a lot of strength in her upper body and that's what propels her."
But Regalado was ultimately happy with her performance on the course.
"It felt good," she said. "I was feeling like I should keep it in a little but these girls are amazingly fast, so I just had to go for it. I like the hills better but these flat courses will just make you better for track."
Finishing behind Regalado were teammates Linsey Hansen (21:02), Veronica Regalado (21:13), Angelica Regalado (21:37) and Jessica Kuslits (22:07). The Antioch High girls earned a second-place team finish at league finals behind Carondelet.
Carondelet's Nicole Hood won the varsity girls race with a time of 18:24.
In the varsity boys division, Antioch sophomore Ivan Salazar finished fifth overall with a time of 16:46. Having been out of practice for nearly three weeks, Salazar still managed to finish before any other Panther runners.
"I could have done better," Salazar said. "I haven't practiced for quite a while and I was just out of shape. But to get ready for NCS, I'll practice every day."
Deer Valley's Manny Rin finished seventh overall in 16:48.
"I was kind of caught off guard today because we were supposed to run another course with more hills but we've trained for this, so it wasn't a big deal," Rin said. "By the end of the race I gave it all I had. I think I raced as good as I could have."
Other finishers in the varsity boys race include Deer Valley's Anthony Palermini in ninth place (16:51), Antioch's Mathew Humphreys in tenth place (16:52) and DV's Avery James in 11th place (16:52).
The Deer Valley boys placed third as a team behind De La Salle and Liberty.
De La Salle's Alex Davies won the varsity boys division in 16:12.
Antioch and Deer Valley will send their varsity runners to next Saturday's North Coast Section meet at Hayward High School in hopes of earning a spot at the upcoming state meet.