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Moreno Medals At State Cross Country Meet
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She didn't repeat as state champion, but Amanda Moreno and the rest of the Escalon Cougars closed out their cross country season with a solid effort Saturday in Fresno.

Battling bad conditions, the squads finished in the upper 50 percent of competing teams and Moreno brought home an individual medal.

"Amanda didn't repeat but I really didn't expect it," said her coach, Rick Heflin. "Last year, she came out of nowhere and that wasn't going to happen again."

Moreno took sixth place in the varsity girls race for Division IV, earning an individual state meet medal. The top 10 runners across the line in each race bring home the hardware.

"I was proud of her, running through the hype," Heflin added. "All the publicity and everything was great, good for the sport, but it put a lot of pressure on her."

Moreno ran a time of 18:48 for the 3.1-mile course, hampered by slick conditions and rain.

"When she was finished, she came to me and said she did the best she could do and I was happy with that," Heflin said. "She's a class act."

The varsity girls were 16th overall as a team at the meet in Fresno. Taking second on the Escalon squad behind Moreno was freshman Annelyse Delucchi.

"She's coming on and she hit her PR (personal record) at the state meet, that's the place to do it," Heflin said.

Delucchi ran the course in 21:03, just four seconds away from breaking into the 20s for the first time. She was 90th overall.

She was followed by teammates Mary Courtright, 115th, 21:25; Aprille Ray, 140th, 22:14; Mckenzie Brown, 142nd, 22:14; Marie Beard, 172nd, 23:36; and Samantha Metzler, 178th, 23:56.

"Once again, we just missed Bret Harte by a few points but they did a good job," Heflin said of the varsity girls. "We'll only lose Aprille so we're looking strong on the girls side for next year, we just need to get a few more out there."

The varsity boys took 15th as a team in the race, paced by Marc Backovich, 43rd overall in 17:02.

"That was a great time considering the conditions," said Heflin. "The first couple of races of the day, it was just a little misty, cool, perfect weather. Then it turned ugly."

It was a heavy rain that greeted the boys for their race, Heflin noted, and the ground quickly became saturated, making for very slippery conditions for all runners.

"I was happy that we beat everybody we'd beaten before," Heflin said of the finale.

Backovich closed out his cross country career at Escalon with the run, an effort that Heflin said was a solid one.

"He led the team this year, he has just been a great leader for us and really has improved since last year, plus he was a section champion, that's not too bad," the coach pointed out.

Shane Brookshire was second for Escalon, continuing his strong strides over last year's performances. He ran a 17:21 on the state meet course, good for 73rd place. Randy Huntington followed in 95th place, 17:32; Vance Waldeck, 131st, 18:10; Sam Goulet, 155th, 18:52; Andy Schmidt, 159th, 18:56 and Ryan Sughrue, 181st, 19:48.

Heflin said, as usual, the runners had plenty of support and they remain grateful for that showing.

"We also had the Boosters Club paying for some of it and Escalon brought about 150 people down there to cheer us on," Heflin said of the Saturday meet. "I also want to thank all the parents, we couldn't have done it without them."