At the section race on Saturday, the Riverbank varsity Bruin boys finished in eighth place. Ruben Paredez was the top finisher in 23rd place with a time of 17:44. He was followed by Eric Wise in 17:54 and then Michael Rodriguez in 18:02.
“While we didn’t finish the season where we wanted to, this team really over achieved all season long. We lost four of our top five runners from last year’s fourth place team, and no one would have given us a chance to do much this year; however, these guys worked together and earned the TVL title and a spot in the section meet,” said coach Monte Wood. “I am really proud of what they have accomplished. They are in every sense of the word a ‘team’.”
In the girls’ race Kim Ruvalcaba will be representing Riverbank at the state meet in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 28. She finished fifth overall in the race and was the fourth individual qualifier.
“She had the 20th fastest time overall in all divisions and would have qualified to state in all divisions except DII,” Wood noted. “The team finished in fourth place just one point behind Dixon. The top two teams qualified to state. Stephanie Bernal missed qualifying to state by one place.
“It is really tough for all of us to consider that because she has worked so hard over the last two years to make herself a great runner. After Haley Richardson and Sabrina Garcia graduated last year, we really had to have someone step up to give us a chance, and Stephanie did that. She gave us a chance at the TVL and section title. I don’t think I have ever coached a kid that has transformed themselves more than Stephanie has. I am so proud of her and she will be someone that we will talk about for years.”
Alondra Hernandez also ran a great race, the coach said. Her time of 21:59 was a great time on a tough course.
“She had never been on the course before, and it is one of the toughest in the state,” said Wood. “I really think she is the next great Riverbank distance runner.”