Preps

Wednesday, Oct 10 2012 10:16 PM

Mustangs Blackmon, Fisher lead the packs

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Well into the girls SWYL varsity race at Yokuts Park Stockdale's Tori Blackmon has a commanding lead. She won the race.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Stockdale's Conner Fisher takes a solid lead early in the boy's varsity cross-country race as runners kick up dust in the Yokuts Park course Wednesday. Fisher won the race.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Bakersfield High's Evan Bowman takes 2nd in the varsity boys SWYL cross-country race held at Yokuts Park.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A slow camera shutter speed shows the blur of movement by runners as the start the varsity boy's cross-country race at Yokuts Park. Stockdale High's Conner Fisher leads the pack.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

Without anyone to challenge her for the victory, Tori Blackmon had just one goal for Wednesday's Southwest Yosemite League cross county meet at Yokuts Park.

The Stockdale senior wanted to break her course record.

She did that with ease, running the 5K event in 18 minutes, 23 seconds, more than a half-minute faster than her record-setting time of 19:00 a year ago.

"I just kind of wanted to push myself," Blackmon said. "I quit club soccer over the summer to focus on my running...I just really wanted to beat my previous time from last year and that's just what I was going for."

Blackmon wasn't the only Stockdale runner to post an all-time best time.

Connor Fisher set a new boys course record with a mark of 15:12.

Fisher won in dominating fashion. Second-place Evan Bowman of Bakersfield High finished in 16:01. Frontier's Brandon Kan (16:10) was third, followed by Stockdale's Tyus Thompson (16:17), Kean Kelley (16:22) and Ivan Robles (16:32).

"I just wanted to come out early and control it," Fisher said of his wire-to-wire victory. " ... I went out strong and I didn't die, so it's a good way to stretch your legs during the week."

Centennial's Molly Pruett (18:57) was the girls runner-up. Morganne Hill (19:07) of Liberty took third and was followed by Frontier's Jessica Campbell (19:10) and Ambar Cruz (19:11).

The Stockdale girls and boys teams were easy winners.

With all six of its runners finishing in the top 10, the Stockdale girls team scored 31 points. Frontier (53) was second, followed by Liberty (67), Centennial (76) and Independence (142).

"We obviously had a tremendous race," Stockdale girls coach Bree Tape said. "(Blackmon) ran sub-six pace, which is just phenomenal for her. So I'm really happy for her. But besides Tori we had a really good pack, which we've been working on; the whole team idea of packing it up."

Five Stockdale boys were among the fastest nine finishers. That helped the Mustangs (25 points) easily defeat second-place Bakersfield, which totaled 57. Centennial was third with 72 points. Frontier (87), Liberty (111), and Independence (163) followed.

"This was our best performance of the year, by far," Stockdale boys coach Josh Lewis said.

"We've been injured. Our number one or two runner (Blake Haney) still isn't running. But the guys had great spacing. They committed to their paces early. And they ran together. As a result they won big."

Pruett, who finished second place earlier in the season at Wolf Pack Invitational, came into the race not feeling well.

However, she acknowledged that had nothing to do with her inability to keep up with Blackmon on Wednesday.

"I thought it went pretty well," Pruett said. "I've kind of been battling a cold recently so I was pretty happy with my overall result. There was a pretty big gap between first and second but I hope to close that by the end of the season. She (Blackmon) is an amazing runner. I really look up to her a lot."

Bowman said his goal was to finish second to Fisher.

"Behind Connor, it's a good spot," Bowman said. "I'm happy with it for today."

Fisher was also happy. And with more than just his individual first-place finish.

"I just wanted my team to win," he said. "So I did what I could to help (the Mustangs) win."

Blackmon shared the credit for her big day.

"My team really helps me and pushes me to just do my best," she said.

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