Kolbeck leads team to first place

November 17, 2000
Santa Paula News
Santa Paula's Benjamin Kolbeck celebrated his 10th birthday by leading his Bantam boys' teammates to the first place team trophy at the Southern California Association Cross Country Championships held in La Mirada recently. Kolbeck and his teammates advance to the Regional Championships to be held in Las Vegas where they will attempt to qualify for Nation Junior Olympics meet in Reno, to challenge for the national team title. The Bantam boys' race, featuring 32 runners from Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, quickly became a two-man race as Kolbeck and Brandon Confer, his longtime nemesis from Irvine, separated from the rest of the pack. The two 10-year olds battled evenly over much of the 3,000 meter course, but Confer pulled ahead in the last 800 meters to beat Kolbeck by four seconds. Kolbeck finished in 11:40.1, nearly 30 seconds ahead of the third place finisher from Los Angeles.Since both runners advance to regional competition, they will renew their friendly duel in Las Vegas. The top 20 runners and the top two teams from Las Vegas will advance to the national meet in Reno on December 9th. The two competitors are likely to meet up again at the national level to battle one another and about 300 other runners from around the country.

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