Heuchert leads Vaqueros at Ventura Invitational

SBCC’s Alex Heuchert grabbed fifth place in the season-opening Ventura Invitational men’s cross country race at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura. The sophomore from San Marcos High covered the 4-mile course in 22:28. He moved up from 23rd at the mile mark to fifth, shaving 1:02 off his time from last year.

The Vaqueros took fourth place with 134 points. Canyons, led by individual winner Rodrigo Ornelas in 21:09, was the winner with 23 points.

“We put seven men on the line and they worked well as a pack in the early going,” said coach Scott Fickerson. “Only 12 seconds separated the group at the mile mark and we were well-placed in the top quarter of the field.

Heuchert, the team captain, broke away at the mile mark and took Michael Bowlds with him for a large part of the race.

“Alex picked up right where he left off in the spring, running a really intelligent race and then being tough when it mattered,” said Fickerson. “He’s in for a great season. His hard work is paying off.”

Bowlds, a freshman from Louisville, Colo., finished a strong 14th place in 23:00.

“That was a great way to start off a cross country career,” noted Fickerson.

The next three Vaqueros all placed in the top half of the 117-runner field. Sophomore Martin Montes was 38th in 24:27, freshman Bradley Apodaca was 43rd in 24:44 and Adam Grimmit was 50th in 24:57.

Mt. San Antonio was second with 62 points. Just four points separated third through fifth place with Cuesta third, SBCC fourth and Citrus fifth.

“One of our big goals was to try to really run together as a team and we did pretty well at that,” said Fickerson. “Placing fourth out 12 teams was a good sign that the hard work is paying off and we will be in a good place later in the season when it counts.”

Ventura Invitational
At Arroyo Verde Park
Team (12 schools) — 1, Canyons 23. 2, Mt. SAC 62. 3, Cuesta 131. 4, SBCC 134. 5, Citrus 135.
Individual (4 miles, 117 finishers) – 1, Rodrigo Ornelas, Canyons, 21:09.
SBCC runners — 5, Alex Heuchert 22:28. 14, Michael Bowlds 23:00. 38, Martin Montes 24:27. 43, Bradley Apodaca 24:44. 50, Adam Grimmit 24:57. 58, Ryan Sorenson 25:23. 66, Matt Wells 25:49.