For the 35th time in Riverbank High School’s 50-year history, a cross country team came away with a Trans-Valley League Championship.
The boy’s team won one of the closest races in a long time to win a share of the team title. The final score was Riverbank 53, Escalon 56, and Hilmar 59.
“Because Escalon won the first two races of the year, we will share the league title with them,” said head coach Monte Wood. “This was the boy’s fourth title in five years. Ramon Rosas and Damian Lopez went one-two, with Ramon edging Damian out at the line for the individual title.”
Rosas is only a sophomore, noted Wood, so it was quite an accomplishment for him to win the title with so many experienced runners in the race.
“Chris Martinez was eighth overall to give us three in the top eight which was vital in winning the team title,” Wood explained. “Carlos Aguilera was the number four runner and Isaac Andalon set a personal record by almost a minute on the course to help overcome the injury to Julian Lopez.”
Freshmen Isaiah Bargas, running in his first 5k, ran 19:47 and was the number seven runner on the Bruin varsity team.
“He showed that he has the potential to be a great runner, and we really look forward to seeing him develop in the future,” said Wood. “Zac Richison, Alex Solorio, and Miko Bargas all ran personal records as well, so this was a complete team effort, and I am so proud of the hard work and dedication they have shown. This is a group of guys that really drew closer together as the season went on and pushed each other to become better.”
Wood added that Chris Martinez and Carlos Aguilera deserve a lot of credit for leading the team by example and showing the younger runners how to work.
“The other runners deserve a lot of credit for listening and following them,” Wood said. “I really think we have the boys program moving in the right direction as we have a great mix of experienced runners and talented younger runners coming up.”
Freshman Jesus Sepulveda medaled in the JV race by placing fifth overall in that race. The coach said he was confident that freshman Adan Salgado would have medaled as well if he could have been able to run, but he had a knee injury that kept him out of the race. Logan Gonzalez, Fredy Arana, Jose Nuno, and George Navarro all set personal records in the JV race.
“If this group of first year runners will work hard in the off season and in track, we should be right there again next year challenging for the TVL title,” said Wood.
On the girls’ side, Alondra Hernandez finished second overall. It was her best race of the year on the course but she just let the Hughson runner get a little too far away from her after the 2-mile mark.
“She was sitting in third place with 400 meters to go but closed hard to out kick a runner from Mountain House to take second,” Wood explained. “Alondra was the only medalist for the girls’ team. Diane Murillo really came on this year, and she finished as our number two runner. She and fellow sophomore Anastasia Toscano really worked well together this year and will have to be the leaders of the team moving forward.”
The coach said the girls have some talent coming up, but they have to find consistency in all aspects of their training to challenge for the team title again.