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Riverbank Boys Run Off With Section Title

With the fastest time ever run on the Willow Hill track in Folsom already tucked away in distance running phenom German Fernandez's bag, the talented senior's focus instantly shifted to the times and results of his Riverbank High teammates on Saturday, Nov. 10. "It is very important for my team to move on because we work so hard as a team," Fernandez said after posting a course-best time of 15:03 in the Section meet. "Throughout the summer, working hard, we are a team. The team is what makes a good distance runner." The varsity Bruins, as a team, did not disappoint, bringing home the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV boys cross country title with a score of 57. Christian Brothers High finished the meet with 60 points, good for a second place finish. With the top three teams advancing to the State Meet, Riverbank has secured its berth into the meet to be held at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 24. Riverbank got superb performances from its entire squad, with Jacob Hodges, Chris Nunez and Ben Hodges all finishing the course in sub-18:30 times. Octavio Vigil (19:15), Robert Sandoval (19:17) and Martin Ramos (20:08) rounded out the Bruins top seven finishers. Fernandez's race was nothing short of a spectacle. The hundreds of people flocking the final stretch of the 3-mile race anticipated where the Bruin standout would finish on the clock. A steady buzz grew into a frenzy as Fernandez came into view over the final quarter-mile of the course. Members of the gallery began screaming frantically with Fernandez coming down the final 100 yards. The Bruin phenom unveiled the determination it takes to really be the best, revealing his agony through the effort-filled facial expressions cemented on his sweat soaked face. It was obvious that his record-setting time meant a lot to all of the distance running fans in attendance. "This was a hard course," Fernandez said. "I thought I was running like in the 15:30's, but then I looked at my watch at 14:56 on that last straight-away, and I thought 'Man I almost got it.' "Overall it was a good race, but I was more concerned with how my team did." The Riverbank Lady Bruins closed out their season with a seventh place finish in the section, with Tayler Anderson leading the way with a 16th place overall finish of 22:31. Teammate Karina Duarte closed out the race in 22:47, while Angela Baiza turned in a time of 23:43 for fourth on the Lady Bruins' team placement. Natalia Herrera (23:51) and Lizzie Uscanga (24:19) rounded out Riverbank's top-5, while Gemma McHugh (24:23) and Sulema Valencia (26:27) completed the course for Riverbank's final runners. Riverbank's boys will continue to work hard and train in preparation for the Nov. 24 State Meet. But there, it will be arace in which the Bruins won't be able to surprise anyone. Riverbank will be expected to compete.