CROSS COUNTRY: Central Section Championships set at Woodward Park

Sanger sweeps CMAC titles, Immanuel girls and Reedley boys claim Tri-County crowns while Parlier’s Torres bags Northwest Sequoia top medal

Immanuel High’s girls once again ruled the Tri-County Conference team standings, compiling 23 points led by individual medalist Clara Riddle’s time of 18 minutes, 48.53 seconds. (Reedley High Cross Country )
Jon Earnest
Published November 10, 2023  • 
5:00 pm

FRESNO – Woodward Park is the place to be for the next two weeks involving top runners from the southern San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast — and then California in its entirety.

Qualifiers in five enrollment divisions for both boys and girls will be running at the annual Central Section Championships beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16 at the north Fresno park’s 5,000 meter layout, which also is the site for the annual CIF State Championships. The state meet will be held on Saturday, Nov. 25, with first races set for 9 a.m.

Four Mid Valley Times region teams tuned up for section competition by reigning supreme in their respective league competitions at Woodward Park. On Nov. 8, the Sanger High Apaches swept the varsity boys and girls team competition at the County Metro Athletic Conference meet on Nov. 8. Senior Daniel Galvez won medalist honors for the boys.

At the Tri-County Conference Championships on Nov. 7, Immanuel High’s reigning Division V section champion girls along with Reedley High’s boys both rolled to varsity team titles. Medalist honors went to the Eagles’ Clara Riddle and the Pirates’ Mauricio Herrera. At the Northwest Sequoia League meet on Nov. 6, Parlier High senior Evan Torres captured his second straight individual top medal.

The Nov. 16 section meet race schedule is as follows: Division V boys, 11 a.m.; Division I boys, 11:30 a.m.; Division V girls, noon; Division I girls, 12:30 p.m.; Division II boys, 1 p.m.; Division III girls, 1:30 p.m.; Division IV boys, 2 p.m.; Division II girls, 2:30 p.m.; Division III boys, 3 p.m.; Division IV girls, 3:30 p.m.

Here’s a recap of region runners at league-conference meets:

County Metro Athletic Conference

Immanuel girls had all seven of its runners finish in the top 10 as they bid for a second straight section D-V title in top 10 state finish. Sophomore Riddle clocked 18 minutes, 48.53 seconds over 5,000 meters to win by nearly 50 seconds. Other Eagle finishers were sophomore Lexi Schartmann (fourth, 19:47.14), freshman Ainsley Jackson (fifth, 19:54.24), senior Gaby Ramirez (sixth, 20:07.57), senior Macie Riddle (eighth, 20:09.90) and senior Sarah Larger (ninth, 20:53.94).

The Reedley High girls placed fifth with 136 points, led by freshman Yeny Asia Oronia’s 20th place finish in 22:47.54.

Reedley’s varsity boys rolled past city rival Immanuel to capture the team title with 19 points, followed by the Eagles with 59 points. Pirates runners took five of the six top spots, led by medalist and sophomore Mauricio Herrera (16:25.34). Other Reedley finishers were junior Brett Mitchell (third, 16:54.39), sophomore Joshua Alcaraz (fourth, 17:00.69), senior Yeshua Ramos (fifth, 17:01.13) and sophomore Luke Mitchell (sixth, 17:11.56).

Immanuel sophomore Reid Bishel broke up the Reedley race monopoly with a second place showing in 16:50.82. Sophomores Lucas Guzman (17:27.83) and Koen Ensz (17:28.43) placed 11th and 12th, respectively.

Tri-County Conference

Apaches senior Galvez posted a season-best time and was just five seconds off his PR with a winning clocking of 15:54.1 to beat out teammate and junior Sawyer Pugliese (16:10.6). Sanger (23 points) cruised past Bullard bolstered by junior Gabriel Rivera (fifth, 16:58.8), freshman Anthony Rubio (sixth, 17:04.6), junior Anthony Cortez (eighth, 17:14.3) and senior Gerardo Zuniga (ninth, 17:17.5).

The Sanger girls had three runners in the top four to score 28 points and beat out Edison (43) for the team title, Junior Alexa Vaca (19:15.1) placed second behind medalist Isabella Ramirez of Bullard, and was followed by SHS teammates sophomore Kinsley Allen (19:37.5), junior Zowie Hernandez (20:11.3) and sophomore Amberly Gomez (20:14.3).

Northwest Sequoia League

Parlier’s Torres was more than 18 seconds off his personal best time from earlier this season, but still dominated the varsity boys race by nearly 24 seconds over Fresno Christian’s Blake Bay. Torres will try to better his second place Division IV finish from 2022, and once again qualify for state competition.

West Yosemite League

Dinuba High finished third in varsity girls and fourth in varsity boys at the WYL meet on Nov. 8 at Tulare’s Live Oak Park. Freshman Gisele Duarte clocked 20:28.05, improving her PR time by 23 seconds, to place fifth in the girls race while junior Felipe Suarez (17:03.39) and senior Adolfo Collado (17:03.68) finished 10th and 11th in the boys race.

North Yosemite League

Sanger West’s boys team ended the day fifth out of six teams, led by junior John Archuleta with a 21st place finish in 18:09.3 while senior Isaac Lemus (19:31.4) placed 28th. The Hornets didn’t have a full girls squad, but junior Aviana Martinez (22:44) finished 15th and sophomore Gigiana Baker (24:16.5) placed 23rd.

East Sequoia League

At Lindsay High on Nov. 8, Orosi’s boys finished fifth out of nine teams with 136 points. Sophomores Emmanuel Martinez (20:32.12) and Samuel Lua Loera (20:32.60) finished 21st and 22nd, with all Cardinal runners placing in the top 33 out of 57 runners. In the girls race, Orosi junior Ashley Galvan finished in 19th place in 26:01.56.

Jon Earnest