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Riverbank Rolls In Cross Country Opener
The Riverbank High Cross Country team got its heels wet during its first meet of the season along the scenery of Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton and came away with a solid performance in the squads' action in the Delta Kings Invitational on Friday, Aug. 28

The Lady Bruins were led by first place finishes on the freshman and JV teams, giving the recent dominance of the squad an even more solid foundation.

"I was really impressed with our sophomores and Leti Herrera who is a freshman," Lady Bruin head coach Monte Wood said. "They all ran smart races. They didn't take out too fast and most of them finished higher than where they were at the 800 meter mark.

"Jackie Herrera's 13:45 was a really good time especially considering it was her first race."

Herrera opened the race in 10th place and put together an impressive finish to close out in second place. The Lady Bruins have held the crown in a talented league that boasts strong teams from Escalon, Ripon, Hughson and Modesto Christian, yet they will have to make huge strides when it comes to their upper classmen.

"Some of the varsity runners are not quite where I want them yet," Wood said of his senior leaders. "But the younger girls are progressing very well."

The regional park held temperatures near triple digits during the Friday meet, as the teams had to battle the elements in what seemed like a summer time affair. Teams from all over the central valley were in attendance, with Trans Valley League foe Ripon High providing the Bruins' with their only league counterparts.

The Lady Bruins took advantage of the opportunity to get a leg up on the TVL competition, but the league meet as well as sections are still a long way away and teams will be using that time to continue to get better.

"I expect we will be competitive in the TVL," Wood said. "Hughson is a really good team, but they don't have much depth. We are so young that it is hard to say what will happen by the end of the year.

"Once the younger runners and myself get things figured out, we expect to have a very good showing in league."

The gentlemen will have an uphill climb during the season, hoping to make a strong push. Overall out of the 13 teams at the invitational, the Bruins placed second to Ponderosa (a Division II team; the Bruins compete in Division 4) which amassed 63 points to Riverbank's 78.

"Our boys team is developing," head coach Bruce Edwards said. "We hope to drop our times quite a bit as the season progresses, but I am happy, not impressed.

"I hope we can compete with Escalon," Edwards continued. "They have all their boys returning and would have beat us at the end of last year using our returnees then by quite a margin (30points), so I hope we have closed the gap substantially."

Riverbank was able to bring home some hardware for their efforts with the freshman team, freshman girls, Leti Herrera, Mikayla Anderson, Denisse Zamora, Julissa Linarez, Rocio Guzman and Gloria Medina taking first place, while sophomore teammates Jackie Herrera, Adriana Rosales, Gina Retana, Erica Orellana and Genisa Contreras also closing the race in first place.

The team will be back on the course for the first TVL action when they travel to the Tuolumne Regional Park on Sept. 9 for a league meet.