By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
The Brookings-Harbor High School boys' cross country team won their fifth team title of the year at the Clam Beach Invitational in McKinleyville, Calif., on Saturday.
"This was a major race with a lot of big California schools," Coach Terry Axel said. "The boys are really stepping up and running in a pack. That's really going to help when our sixth guy finishes ahead of another team's fourth or fifth guy."
The entire 3.1-mile course took place on sand, with a majority of the runners choosing to run barefoot.
Willie Bennett continued to run well for the Bruins as he led the team for the second straight race with a sixth place finish at 17:33.
Chris Neighbor was the second Bruin finisher in 11th place at 18:04 with Linden Loren right on his heels in 12th place at 18:06.
Not far behind was Kevin Sthen in 18th at 18:22 and Gage Northrup in 19th at 18:28.
Just a few spots back was Alec Rosenthal, who came in 22nd at 18:40.
In the team standings, the boys took first place with 66 points, followed by Pleasant Valley (87), Corning (92), Eureka (126), Willits (171) and Red Bluff (178).
For the year, the boys are 49-5, defeating 49 teams while only finishing behind five teams.
In the girls' race, the Bruins finished in fourth place, just one point behind Corning in third.
Freshman Ally Manley, who had won every race she entered, was disqualified Saturday, along with the lead, Maggie Strong of Mt. Shasta, for taking a wrong turn and cutting off about half a mile on the course.
Manley was following Strong in the front of the pack, far ahead of the rest of the runners, when Strong took an early turn and Manley instinctively followed, resulting in a disqualification.
"I was disappointed for Ally because it would have been a great time," Axel said. "But it was a learning experience."
With Manley's disqualification, the Bruins were led by Nicole Ledford who finished in eighth place with a time of 22:37.
Amy Axel was next to finish as she crossed in ninth place with a time of 22:54.
Finishing third for the Bruins was Lisa Bernhard in 23rd place at 24:23, followed by Charlotte Smith in 28th place in a time of 25:23.
The final Bruin runner was Marianne Neighbor, who is still hampered by a knee injury, who finished in 35th place at 29:12.
The Bruins were also without Andi Gutierrez and Krista Watterson who were out because of injury and illness.
Pleasant Valley won the team title with 48 points, followed by Mt. Shasta (50), Corning (102), Brookings-Harbor (103), and Eureka (110).
For the year, the girls team has a 42-10 record.
The next race for the Bruins is on Thursday, Oct. 11, at Myrtle Point.