Monache boys wins 8th EYL title, girls 7th straight
For years, cross country in the East Yosemite League was dominated by Monache High School, and unsurprisingly, that still remains the case.
Both the boys and girls cross country teams defended their EYL titles at the EYL championship meet Wednesday at Porterville Sports Complex. It was the Marauders boys eighth straight title and the girls seventh straight.
Taking home the individual EYL titles in the 5,000-kilometer race were Monache’s No. 1 runners: Ivan Mendez with 16 minutes, 11 seconds for the boys and Marilou Ruiz with 19:28 for the girls.
For the boys, Monache won the championship meet with 21 points, while Tulare Western (61) came in second, Tulare Union (68) third, Delano (102) fourth, Mission Oak (117) fifth and Porterville (190) sixth. The Marauders ended their season undefeated in league.
Top 10 finishers for Monache were Mendez in first, Isaiah Sotelo (16:43) in third, Giovanni Sanchez (17:36) in fourth, Carlos Magana (17:45) in fifth, Joachim Del Rosario (18:00) in eighth and Bryan Perez (18:09) in ninth.
“They ran in a tight knit group like they do everyday,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “They kept their group together and were broken up by the Tulare Western No. 1 runner and the Tulare Union No. 2 runner. We always want our runners to compete with other teams’ best. I was especially proud of senior Carlos Magana, (who) … has worked his way onto the team in the last few weeks and ran the best race of his life.”
Porterville’s highest finishes were Abraham Silvestre-Ortiz(21:48) in 50th, Jonathan Mendoza (24:01) in 57th and Tristan Nieblas (24:02) in 58th. The Panthers placed fifth in league.
Monache girls were able to hold on to their EYL championship streak by claiming a share of the league title after finishing second with 31 points behind Tulare Western’s 26 in the championship meet. According to Ishida, the girls had not been defeated in EYL since 2011.
Also at the championship meet, Tulare Union (97) placed third, Porterville (108) fourth, Mission Oak (130) fifth and Delano (149) sixth. In league, the Panthers also placed fourth.
Ishida said the Marauders were leading by one point with 1 mile to go in the 5K. Aislin Taylor was holding off Tulare Western’s No. 1, 2 and 3 runners until the last 100 meters, where she dropped to a fifth-place finish with 20:25.
Monache’s Marina Barragan (20:52), Chanel Bradley (21:02) and Aryanna Guzman (21:25) placed seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively, to round out scoring. Western’s Leslie Baca’s 11th-place finish with 21:46 sealed the win for the Mustangs.
“We have had a tough week of illnesses and started the race 30 minutes late,” Ishida said. “We had trouble from the start and looked a little flat. Tulare Western had been running very well lately and returned their injured No. 1 runner. They had a great deal of enthusiasm in the race and we could not respond late in the race. They are a great team, and to hold up to them and give them our best and come up 31-26 is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Aryanna and Marina really have given us the chance to be great,” Ishida added. “Chanel Bradley has really been working hard this year and placed (eighth) as the No. 4 runner. Our girls have been great all year and always found a way to get the job done, even if an individual had a bad day. We just hit a perfect storm. I missed some coaching details during the meet and I will be the first to say that I did not make the correct adjustments.”
Top finishers for Porterville were Lynlee Davis (22:05) in 13th, Jaelyn Estrada (23:27) in 21st, Odalys Rivera (23:58) in 23rd.
The Monache freshmen-sophomores girls and boys teams also won the meet and the EYL title with the boys winning their ninth straight.