Roosevelt’s Tyler Spencer and Great Oak’s Fatima Cortes enjoy breakout seasons, HSGT Runners of the Year honors
By Landon Negri
LAKE ELSINORE — From opposite ends of Riverside County, Tyler Spencer and Fatima Cortes followed similar paths during the 2017 cross country season.
Both had breakout seasons, rising from solid No. 2 or No. 3 positions within their teams. Spencer, from Roosevelt, ran the fastest time of any Inland-area individual at last month’s CIF-State Championships, placing third in Division I in a time of 15 minutes, 11.8 seconds.
Cortes, the younger sister of former Great Oak standout Isaac Cortes, had her big day at the CIF-Southern Section Finals meet, where she outran names like Lauren Peurifoy of King and Chloe Arriaga of Walnut to win the Division 1 individual title. She followed that with a fourth-place finish in Division I at the state meet a week later.
For those accomplishments, Spencer and Cortes are the HSGameTime Runners of the Year. They met briefly for a photo at the Walker Canyon Trailhead in Lake Elsinore this week, about equidistant from their respective high schools.
“I just think that, finally, I definitely trusted my coaches’ training,” said Spencer, who led Roosevelt to a runner-up finish in Division I at the state meet behind winner Great Oak — both teams earned berths into the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Ore. “I definitely invested into it. And I think everybody on my team saw results.”
In addition to his postseason, Spencer also won the Big VIII League’s individual championship and the Inland Empire Challenge, where he edged out two others considered for Boys Runner of the Year — Redlands East Valley senior Elias Opsahl and Rubidoux junior Kevin Ramos. Great Oak senior Carlos Carvajal and his senior teammate, Raymond Ornelas, were also considered.
Cortes was a solid No. 2 for Great Oak’s girls — who won their sixth consecutive state title this year — behind teammate Tori Gaitan. But […]