Lonai wins Gutbuster for Pioneer girls

Mac-Hi senior Jesus Saldana lengthens his stride during a downhill section past the huge "M" painted on the water tower above Milton-Freewater Municipal Golf Course during the Mac-Hi Gut Buster Cross-Country meet Friday, October 12, 2012 in Milton-Freewater.

Mac-Hi senior Jesus Saldana lengthens his stride during a downhill section past the huge "M" painted on the water tower above Milton-Freewater Municipal Golf Course during the Mac-Hi Gut Buster Cross-Country meet Friday, October 12, 2012 in Milton-Freewater. Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.

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MILTON-FREEWATER — Josie Lonai beat out her nearest competitor by almost 48 seconds to take first place for Mac-Hi at the Gutbuster cross country meet Friday afternoon.

The sophomore harrier posted a 21-minute, 3.05-second finish in the 3-mile race. Pendleton’s Evelyn Perez, also a sophomore, finished runner up in 21:51.69.

“She (Lonai) ran a really good race,” Mac-Hi coach John Milleson said. “She was in second place most of the race and then the (then) first place girl from Pendleton (Delaney Clem, who finished fifth) took two wrong turns in the last mile. Josie then caught up and won easily in the last mile.”

Mac-Hi’s Susie Romero-Diaz (22:25.25) took sixth overall.

“Susie (Romero-Diaz) did well and ran a good race,” Milleson said. “She is on the inside track to get to the state meet after districts in two weeks.”

Filling out the top finishers for Mac-Hi girls was Kristi Childers (23:44.07, 15th), Mie Blomberg (24:30.52, 23rd), Cristian Lara (25:36.01, 23rd) and Jackie Martinez (27:48.65, 33rd).

“Jackie (Martinez) was only in her second race of the season,” Milleson said. “She was our No. 3 runner last year and is making real progress each week she is back.”

Jesus Saldana led the Mac-Hi boys with an eighth-place finish in 18:30.01.

“Jesus Saldana was trying to make up for lost time and race in the very top finishers,” Milleson said.”He wasn’t quite there after missing last week’s race due to SAT tests.”

Mac-Hi boys’ division had three other runners besides Saldana finish in the top half of the race.

Andrew Kain (19:23.22) took 21st, Austin Cousineau (19:32.22) grabbed 23th and Cody Harmon (20:01.08) claimed 28th.

“The boys ran a solid race,” Milleson said. “One thru five has been running two minutes apart. That is our ultimate goal to keep our top runners close together.”

The Gutbuster, hosted by Mac-Hi, doubled in size since a year ago, with 75 runners in the boys race and 44 in the girls.

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