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Florez, Rosales Shine At State Cross Country Meet
Saying the Division IV girls race at the 2011 California Interscholastic Federation State Cross Country Championships was fast is like saying a few people went shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Both are colossal understatements.

One hundred and ninety-four D-IV runners pushed their athleticism to the limit on Saturday for one of the quickest and most competitive races in state history at Woodward Park in Fresno.

When the dust finally settled, Riverbank High sophomore Mikayla Florez had nabbed a 17th place time while senior Adriana Rosales finished in 46th.

But not reaching a top-10 time and state medal was nothing to cry about considering the competition.

A collection of three seniors and one junior nabbed top-four times with marks under 18 minutes on the five-kilometer course. Nineteen runners were under 19 minutes and 60 under 20 minutes.

"It was likely the fastest D-IV race ever," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "As far back as I can track there has never been a race as tough as this."

To put the meet in perspective, Riverbank's last D-IV girls state champion (Maritza Garcia) ran an 18:14 time to claim state gold in 2005. While that time was terrific, it would have only granted Garcia a 10th place finish at the 2011 championships.

Florez ran terrific Saturday to slip under 19 minutes at 18:57, but finished only hundredths of a second faster than two other runners at the 18:57 mark. Florez was the seventh fastest non-senior and the fifth fastest underclassman. She was well over a minute faster than her state meet time from 2010.

"I am really optimistic that Mikayla can take a minute off her time next year," Wood said. "Since she is so young she has trained really low key and low pressure. She was kind of under trained this year, but next year she will train with the boys."

Rosales capped her prep career with an impressive 19:40 time to best 148 opposing runners and land the sixth best time of any D-IV runner from the Sac-Joaquin Section. She improved her time by 29 seconds from last year's state meet, but with an increase in overall times, landed the exact same placement (46th) from a season ago.

"Adriana ran a very smart race and made a big move right before the second mile," Wood said. "I was very pleased with the way she ended her cross country career."

Both runners will prepare for more runs with Riverbank's track and field program in the spring. Florez was also invited to run with the Buffalo Babes competitive cross country program and qualified for the Junior Olympics in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She will take on the nation's best and gain attention for a potential scholarship during that race on Dec. 9.