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CROSS COUNTRY: Braverman has biggest margin of victory at Bud O’Dea Championships

Sara Braverman made a tough decision to leave soccer behind this season.

The Green Valley sophomore was coming off a strong track season and opted instead to run cross country during the fall.

On Tuesday, Braverman showed she made a good choice by winning a 2.5-mile race in 16 minutes, 30 seconds.

She led from the gun to the end, and posted the fastest girls time of the day en route to winning the sophomore race of the Bud O’Dea Frosh-Sophomore Championships at Desert Breeze Park.

“I felt great,” Braverman said. “It’s been fun. I have been playing soccer all my life, so it was hard to give it up; it was a difficult decision. But the girls are great. No regrets.”

Braverman had the largest margin of victory of the four races. Centennial’s Marieta Wright finished second in 17:07.8, followed by Palo Verde’s Kate Vanderstelt in 17:10.4.

Braverman wasn’t the only wire-to-wire winner Tuesday.

Centennial’s Kayla Roberts won the freshmen girls race in 16:54, beating Foothill’s Aine Jones (17:12.5), and Arbor View’s Ana Flaherty (17:30.6).

“It was a good race. I felt great,” Roberts said. “This is a great team.”

The sophomore boys race had the day’s best drama with a pack of five runners — Centennial’s Brian Espino, Green Valley’s Austin Rogers, Faith Lutheran’s Chase Wood, Palo Verde’s Noah Landers, and Coronado’s Colin Schaefer — going out fast.

With just more than a mile to go, Schaefer broke away and never looked back, winning in 13:34.2. Rogers was second in 13:52.8, and Wood took third in 13:58.6.

“I just stayed with the leaders,” Schaefer said. “After the first lap, it was time to go. I felt good all the way.”

Green Valley’s Lenny Rubi was never seriously challenged in winning the freshmen boys race in 14:04.5, outracing Centennial’s Braedon Tarone (14:40.6) and Palo Verde’s Ben Edwards (14:58.2).

“I felt pretty good. It was a good race for me,” Rubi said. “I felt like I had it once I got to the gate coming down the hill on the second lap.”

Green Valley swept the freshmen team titles.

The Gator boys had 36 points to Coronado’s 59. Green Valley’s girls scored 45 points to nip Arbor View by a point. Palo Verde took third in the girls race with 59 points.

Coronado matched its Sunrise Region counterparts by winning both of the sophomore races.

The Cougar boys, with 68 points, beat Shadow Ridge (93) and Green Valley (100).

Coronado’s girls placed five scoring runners in the top nine to produce the lowest team score of the day with 33 points. Centennial was second with 61 points, and Palo Verde finished third with 62.

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