AOW: Lopez earns trip to state with second place at CIF

November 20, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

For three years Holtville High's Edel Lopez played football to get in shape for his primary sport, wrestling.

But this year the 17-year-old switched his fall sport and took on cross country.

It was a decision that turned out to be one of the best of his high school career as he took second place at the CIF San Diego Division IV meet on Saturday.

Lopez, a senior, finished the course in 17 minutes, 23 seconds, some 15 seconds behind the winner.

"That was a very hilly course, so that made things a little difficult. I'm used to running on flat courses and there really isn't any place to practice for something like that down here," said Lopez. "Going into it I was kind of scared about how I'd do and thought I'd do worse."

One thing working against Lopez was the fact that he came down with the flu a week before the competition. His flu symptoms kept him out of practice for a few days, altering his training leading up to the meet.


He got over the flu a day before the meet and was ready to go Saturday.

While Lopez taking second place may have been a surprise to some, he thought it was something he was capable of doing. One of the main reasons he thought he could fare well was the level of competition he faced during the regular season.

Throughout the year Holtville ran against the Imperial Valley's bigger schools — Brawley, Calexico, Central and Southwest — and in most of those dual meets Lopez finished at or near the top of the pack.

"Facing that tougher competition during the year really did prepare me for CIF. When I got there, it seemed like everything was a little slower," said Lopez. "Because of that, I felt that I could've done better."

Next on tap for Lopez is a trip to the state meet in Fresno on Saturday.

Whiles he has high hopes, he said he's keeping his goals realistic.

"It'd really be cool if I made the top 50, but I know realistically that'll be pretty tough," Lopez said. "It's good to have a positive attitude all the time, but I'm thinking realistically. For me, I'm just shooting to beat my own personal record."

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