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Riverbank Runners Bound For Hawaii Invitational
Hard work pays off.

Sometimes, that payday even includes a tropical paradise.

This summer 10 Riverbank High School girls will raise funds for a September trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for entrance in the prestigious Iolani Invitational.

The same cross country runners who played a part in two varsity Trans-Valley League titles, two junior varsity TVL titles, last year's Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section title and frosh-soph runner-up status in 2010 will soon tackle picturesque hills on the island of Oahu.

The 10 lucky girls slated to embark on the trip are Erica Orellana, Adriana Rosales, Mikayla Florez, Gina Retana, Jackie Herrera, Lety Herrera, Julie Hernandez, Kim Munguia, Michelle Medina, and Rocio Guzman.

"They are just great kids who are ambassadors for our community and school," Riverbank cross country coach Monte Wood said. "The purpose of this trip is to reward them for their hard work, and hopefully we can do this every other year as a reward for the kids' dedication to the program."

The Riverbank Unified School District Board approved the trip. The race is Sept. 17, and the runners will depart the Sept. 15 and return Sept. 20. Coach Wood said his runners will do more than just run on the expedition.

"It is our goal to study more about Hawaii and Polynesian culture as well as visit Pearl Harbor and learn more about that historical event," Wood said. "They are getting more and more excited as they see it's a reality that they can go.

"The only hurdle left to get over is the money."

Each athlete will likely need to raise around $850 for the trip to pay for airfare, hotel, rental vans and the cost of food. But they won't be working alone.

The group sent out sponsor letters to friends, family members and business owners in the Riverbank community this week. They will host a Bingo Night fundraiser in Livermore on July 31 and a garage sale later this month.

"We know that these are hard economic times, and we aren't necessarily looking for big donations," Coach Wood said. "Each girl is sending out 20 letters, and if we could just get an average of $10 a letter that would be $200 for each girl. That pays for 25 percent of the trip."

Coach Wood said the group will set up a Facebook account to keep the supporters informed. If anyone doesn't get a sponsor letter and is interested in supporting the endeavor, they can contact coach Wood at (209) 869-1891 (extension 103) or email