Riverbank High School Cross Country runners closed out their league season on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Trans-Valley League Championships at Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto.
Coach Monte Wood reports that the varsity boys team took the title, winning their 25th Cross Country crown in the 50+ years in the history of Riverbank High School.
Wood said the Bruin squad “came from behind to snatch the title away” from Hughson.
“Throughout the race,” he said, “Riverbank was chasing Hughson as a pack of seven of their runners sped out to an early lead over the first half of the race.”
However, Wood noted, over the last half of the race, the third through eighth Bruin runners began to push and passed some of the Hughson runners.
“They had closed the gap on their top five. With less than 30 meters to go, Nico Pulido chased down two Hughson runners and passed them in the finish chute,” Wood said.
That made the margin of victory for Riverbank over Hughson just three-tenths of a second, but the title belonged to the Bruins.
“If Nico had not passed those two runners, we would have been second,” the coach reported. “It was an exciting race that also saw Ramon Rosas and Adan Salgado both finish in the top five of the league, and Isaiah Bargas and Jesus Sepulveda broke 18 minutes for the first time. It was a complete team effort and exciting to be on the victorious side of such a close race.”
Sophomore Nick Mangiapane was the sixth man for the team and ran a personal best for the 5k.
Lady Bruins Finish Well
On the girls side, the Lady Bruins finished fourth overall, but closed the gap tremendously on the league, Wood noted.
“Right now four of the top six teams in the section are in the TVL,” Woods said, “so being fourth isn’t anything to complain about, especially with the girls team made of mostly freshmen and sophomores.”
Super freshmen Dayanara Ruvalcaba and Livi Fernandez both ended up being on the All-League team. It is the first time since Wood has been coaching that RHS has had two freshmen break the 22-minute mark in the 5k.
“Dayanara ran 21:44 and Livi ran 21:53,” Wood said.
Ruvalcaba was also chosen by StanCo Distance as the female runner of the week for dropping 1:30 off of her 5k time.
“She is to be commended for overcoming some early season injuries and pushing through to run so well Tuesday,” the coach noted.
Ainsley Wood also ran a personal record with a time of 22:55.
“Her race was exceptionally gutsy considering she was sick and ran anyway. And she still set a personal record,” said Wood.
The junior varsity boys ran exceptionally well with almost every runner setting a personal record.
“Damian Bolanos, Alec Rios, and Angel Garcia all won medals. Aaron Rangel has also been running very well and has shown tremendous improvement.”
For the junior varsity girls, Wood said that Jocelyn Ayala won a medal and Anastasia Toscano finished her running season strong. She suffered a torn ACL in her knee in January playing soccer, but persevered to bounce back and run during her senior season.
“Going into subsections, the (varsity) boys are ranked seventh and the girls are ranked sixth in the section. The top 10 teams from subsections will qualify to run in the section race,” Wood explained. “It is looking like both teams should qualify for the first time in three years. As Division IV has expanded, it has become very challenging to qualify. Two years ago, the boys would have qualified in every division except Division II but didn’t qualify in Division IV. Hopefully we can take the momentum from the TVL race and run well at subsections.”
The subsection races are coming up on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Frogtown in Angels Camp. The section races are set for Saturday, Nov. 16 at Folsom High School.