Monache sweeps dual, Porterville continues to impress
If there were any team with a chance of beating Monache High School boys cross country, it was their rival Porterville.
Both teams entered their rivalry East Yosemite League dual at the top of the league, but it was the Marauders who were able to remain unblemished with a 20-39 win Wednesday at Porterville Sports Complex.
“Porterville’s going to win the (Central Section Division IV) championship,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “For us to beat them — this is our fourth time — it’s always a challenge.”
Porterville’s Jorge Sanchez led the Panthers and stayed perfect in EYL with a 16 minute, 28 second finish for first place in the 3-mile run. But Monache swept second through sixth for the victory, with second-place Adrian Martinez’s 16:35 leading the Marauders.
“They were disappointed because they didn’t get out with Jorge but Adrian was able to turn a 15-second lead into a 7-second lead and I’m proud of him for that,” Ishida said.
It was a tight race with a crowded lead pack coming into the second mile. A bit of an unfamiliar course to Monache, the Marauders ran reserved at the beginning before breaking away.
“We don’t get out here that much on this grass,” Ishida said. “Very tough on the legs. Just turns your legs to spaghetti. And they’ve got two lines keeping you on the grass and it’s tough. I was worried about this all year.”
Helping to secure the win for Monache was Isaiah Sotelo (17:07, third), Ian Queenan (17:13, fourth), Isaiah Mendez (17:20, fifth) and Isaac Ceballos (17:23, sixth). Bryan Perez (17:37, eighth) also finished in the top 10.
“We had an outside chance of winning this,” PHS head coach Juan Jimenez said. “A lot of things had to go our way, go right, in order for us to get it and it didn’t happen. That’s just the way it goes. They’re a tough team. They work hard and it kind of showed today. We work hard (too). But the difference between the two teams is not all that much but the way it’s scored, 15 seconds is a lot.”
For the Panthers, Ethan Rangel (17:26) placed second, Joshua Jimenez (17:54.12) ninth, Misael Lopez (17:54.59) 10th and Luis Ortiz (18:42) 18th.
“Ethan Rangel has been coming on lately,” coach Juan Jimenez said. “He started out real slow at the beginning of the year, was having some issues with pre-race preparation. I think we kind of ironed that out and he’s starting to come on at the right time of the year and that’s exciting.
One of the areas Porterville struggled with was Monache’s pack running, which the Marauders are well known for.
“They run in a pack, that kills us,” coach Jimenez said. “Their pack running is nice, it really is. And that’s what got us. The difference between their (No. 1) and their (No. 5) is not all that much. And that’s where I think we lost the race today, is the difference between the one and the five.”
Both teams now turn their focus to the EYL championship next Wednesday in Delano, as well as the postseason.
“We’re not done,” Jimenez said. “No. 1 we still got next week at league. And then after that we go to divisionals, and then hopefully on to state.”
Monache girls cross country swept the top six spots to also take a 15-49 victory over Porterville with Aislin Taylor being untouchable in first place with a time of 19:28.
Taylor finished 51 seconds ahead of her teammate Chanel Bradley (20:19), who placed second. Following Bradley was Marina Barragan (20:22) in third, Aryanna Guzman (20:30) fourth, Salma Ramos (20:36) fifth and Alexa Queenan (21:11) sixth.
Porterville’s Joslen Jimenez led the team with a personal record of 21:12 for seventh but coach Jimenez said the freshman was still disappointed with her finish.
“She’s measuring herself by a different set of goals than most kids,” Jimenez said. “She wants to win. She wants to be considered amongst the best. And today was - this was a measuring stick and I’m trying to get her to understand, ‘Hey you did a good job today.’ But that’s going to take time for her to understand that. I’m super excited for her. I’m excited for what’s coming down the road.”
Also for the Panthers, Lynlee Davis (22:30) placed 10th, Marisol Hernandez (22:56) 11th, Maria Millan (23:30) 13th and Elisandra Ruiz (24:00) 14th.
Monache sweeps frosh-soph too
In the 2-mile freshman-sophomore races, Monache came out on top with the boys winning 19-40 and the girls 18-41.
Edith Hernandez (14:03) won the girls race while Anthony West (11:26) won the boys. Porterville’s Dominic Welsh (11:27) trailed West by just one second to place second.
“Out of the race at the 800 mark … he’s out of the race,” Jimenez said. “I think he’s back by about five, six seconds. Gets himself back in the race going into the stretch here at the very end. Didn’t get it. Lost by a second. But he was in it. He pulled himself back into the race and that’s a big moment of maturity.”