Just missing a chance to advance to the state meet, Riverbank’s Alondra Hernandez nonetheless paced a strong Bruin effort at the Section competition on Saturday.
“I feel like we finished the season on high note. While we didn’t field a varsity team at the section meet for the first time in who knows how long, if ever, the kids who did race performed very well,” said head coach Monte Wood. “We knew going into the race that Alondra was a long shot to qualify to state. She has had several injuries that really kept her from training consistently, and Division IV is so tough for individuals. Two of the top 10 individuals in state are in our section and a girl who placed 11th last year is in our section.”
However, Hernandez was sitting as the last individual qualifier for most of the race on the course in Folsom on Saturday.
“She went out fast and was hanging on tough, but in the last 1000 meters she just ran out of gas and faded to 13th place overall and missed qualifying to state by two places,” Wood pointed out. “She showed a lot of heart and guts in the race, and I think being so close will really motivate her in the off-season to train hard. We just have to keep her healthy.”
In the sophomore boys’ race, the Bruins had to run their freshmen up in this race to be able to field a frosh/soph team.
“Ramon Rosas came away as the Division IV section champion in the sophomore race. He is only a freshman,” Wood said. “He ran a really smart race. He didn’t start out too fast. As a matter-of-fact he was probably in 25th or 30th place at the beginning of the race, but going into the last mile, where all the hills are, Ramon made a big move and passed several runners to take the win.”
Wood classified him as “a talented runner that wants to be good,” and both coach and athlete are excited for the future.
Sophomore Julian Lopez also placed in the race. He was seventh overall and the team placed fifth overall. Freshman Isaac Andalon, sophomore Christian Aguiniga and Fernando Martinez made up the rest of the team.
“The thing that I love about these guys is that they have great camaraderie and have fun,” Wood noted. “With all the runners we have coming back next year, I am very encouraged that we will be right back in the mix next year for the TVL championship and a possible chance to go to state.”