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Off On The Right Foot - Bruin Runners Stand Out In First TVL Meet
Riverbank High's varsity boys cross country team didn't need an email, text, or envelope to deliver a message to Trans-Valley League powerhouses Ripon and Hughson on Sept. 5 during the first TVL meet in Modesto.

They just needed their feet.

Riverbank stunned the Trans-Valley League field with four placements into the top-six finishing runners, advancing to a 34-34 tie with Ripon (2011 section champs, state qualifiers) and easily out-pointing Hughson (2011 state qualifiers) at Tuolumne Regional Park.

"The boys ran well and surprised a lot of people," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "They all passed runners over the last mile to get to a tied score,"

Ripon ultimately snared more league points from the event because the tiebreaker criteria is the placement of a sixth runner. But the Bruins hung with the section champs who graduated only two of their top-six runners from 2011 and easily out-performed a Hughson team that graduated only their No. 7 runner from last year.

"Overall it was a good day," Wood said. "The times were very good."

The Bruin varsity girls struggled to third despite another victory from senior standout Mikayla Florez.

"She took the race out fast, ran it all by herself without anyone pushing her," Coach Wood said. "That is very difficult to do."

Riverbank's junior varsity girls scored a perfect 15 in the JV race with top-five Haley Richardson, Sabrina Garcia, Stephanie Zarate, Melissa Romero, and Lydia Hodges beating many of the boys in the race.

"This is a very athletic group of girls and we will see at some point if they are ready for varsity," Wood said.

The JV boys finished second on the heels of an impressive third place finish from Ruben Paredes.

The Bruins will take on the second meet of the TVL schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 26.