Porterville High School’s Jorge Sanchez, continued to shine with a 17th-place finish in Friday’s Rough Rider Invitational at Woodward Park.

The first-year runner finished with a time of 16 minutes, 12 seconds in the 5,000-meter race; the fastest boys time of local runners at the invitational. The Panthers boys finished 14th of 36 schools that scored and 300 runners.

“Well we had another successful outing at the Roughrider Invitational,” PHS head coach Juan Jimenez said. “We are definitely headed in the right direction right now. We had a lot of personal records, personal bests on this course from last year. Some of the kids improved by as much as two minutes which is insane. We obviously still have some things that we need to work out. But we are very excited for the team right now. We are trending upward.”

Also for Porterville boys, Josh Meneses (17:01) placed 78th, Ethan Rangel (17:19.5) 107th, Misael Lopez (17:31.5) 132nd, Joshua Jimenez (17:35.9) 137th, Luis Ortiz (17:51.8) 156th and Firo Rodriguez (19:42.4) 265th. There were a total of 300 runners.

Coach Jimenez added Rangel “is coming on strong” and had another “solid performance” that knocked a minute and a half off of last season’s personal best time at Woodward.

In the girls competition, Porterville placed 24th out of 30 scoring teams with a total of 242 runners. 

Coach Jimenez said freshman Joslen Jimenez also had a strong showing for her freshman outing and finished 93rd with 21:21. 

Marisol Hernandez (23:09) placed 162nd, Maria Millan (23:22) 170th, Elisandra Ruiz (23:26) 173rd, Sarai Ramos (24:03) 184th, Esmeralda Palafox (24:33) 202nd and Princesa Corrales (24:56) 209th.

MHS girls fifth, boys 10th at Rough Rider

The Monache High School cross country team had its most difficult meet of the year, the Rough Rider Invitational, on the heels of its toughest EYL dual meet with Tulare Western. In a span of 48 hours, the Marauders ran a 3-mile course with a seven- and eight-year EYL title streak on the line and at the  Woodward Park CIF State meet course that is the gold standard of courses against a field of 36 teams in Fresno on Friday.  

Teams from around the state showed up to get a feel for the course and establish themselves as state championship contenders. Monache’s main Central Section rival was Division I Clovis West in both the boys and the girls races. Both Monache teams will have to go through Clovis West to get on the podium and qualify for the state championships. 

The Monache girls were edged out by Clovis West with 145 points to finish in fifth place with 152 points. Monache narrowly defeated Dougherty Valley (153 points) with outstanding final sprinting finishes from Chanel Bradley and Aislin Taylor. The difference between Clovis West amounted to 12 seconds shared among Monache’s top five scorers. Campolindo, who placed third at State last year in DIII, was first with 67 points.  

“To run this well so close to a very difficult Tulare Western race is a testament to both the boys’ and girls’ toughness and preparation,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “They knew we needed to hang in there and push for respectable times. They still expect a great deal more from themselves. It was a nice surprise for the girls to get some recruiting attention from UC Merced. It helps to keep things in perspective and see the rewards of Monache’s excellent academic reputation. These girls are outstanding students that work just as hard in the classroom. As an AP U.S. History teacher, it is very rewarding to see the rigor of Monache’s college-level curriculum of AP and PC classes pay off.”  

Aislin Taylor went out quickly with the lead pack to earn sixth with a personal record of 18 minutes, 51 seconds after Wednesday’s 18:10 three-mile performance. Marina Barragan earned 21st place to medal with a fast 19:33 PR. Chanel Bradley was 28th with a 19:58, Aryanna Guzman was 40th with a 20:12 PR, Alexa Queenan was 12th with a 20:39 PR, Salma Ramos was 74th with a 21:05 PR and Sophia Mendoza was 96th with a 21:27 PR.  

The Monache boys were led by Adrian Martinez with a personal record of 16:31 for 33rd place. Ian Queenan was 45th with a 16:38 PR, Isaiah Mendez was 79th with a 17:02 PR, Isaiah Sotelo was 91st with a 17:06.3 and Isaac Ceballos had a big PR of 17:06.5 to place 93rd.  

“The guys were disappointed and knew they could do better, after getting within 14 points of Clovis West a few weeks ago,” Ishida said. “They really wanted more. They went very hard against Tulare Western and the times reflect that effort. We are in a solid position to contend with the Division I leaders. We will continue to get better.” 

The Monache Boys finished 10th with 320 points behind De La Salle in 7th with 178 points, Clovis West with 186 points and Vista with 311 points. Campolindo, the defending State Div. III Runner-Up, finished first with 81 points.  

“It is fun to explain to our kids how good these schools are, how many advantages they have,” Ishida said. “I think Joe Montana’s son played football at De La Salle. It really shows how different the rest of the state is. Campolindo, for example, has six-straight D3 Section wins. Our section’s competitive equity system moves schools that perform well in the section championships all the way up to Div. I, regardless of size, or demotes large schools to Div. IV and V if they do not place well. Schools have been moved up without a single win over the two-year cycle. Other sections base their divisions on school size. We meet up with them periodically at big races and the State Championships, and the inequity of our system, and the disadvantage to our athletes, becomes very apparent. It is an odd system that is destined to change.” 

PC places 10th at Mt. Sac Invite

The Porterville College men’s cross country team placed 10th in the men’s 4 mile run at the Mt. Sac 

Invitational Friday in Walnut. 

Rafael Hurtado led the team with a time of 24 minutes, 30.6 seconds for 43rd place. Angel Roman (26:37.1) was 66th, Cesar Garcia (26:52.2) 68th, Eli Gonzalez (30:17) 93rd, Daniel Alvarado (30:40.6) 94th, Eddy Villa (41:09.5) 102nd, Alex Gonzalez (44:36.8) in 103rd.

In the women’s 3-mile race, Veronica Buckman (27:02.2) placed 49th and Irelynn Weaver (28:38.9) was 58th.

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