Though it was a bit unusual, the Cougars made it work.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 was an off day of school in Escalon, but it was also the second Trans-Valley League Meet for cross country, the event hosted in Modesto.
“First of all I want to thank all of the parents for making sure our athletes were here to compete. Since it was a day off of school, no buses were running. Most of our kids still made it and ran well,” said head coach Rick Heflin.
As they did at the first TVL meet, the Escalon frosh/soph boys won the league race again.
“Very impressive considering the top four frosh/soph boys are running varsity,” noted Heflin.
Leading the frosh/soph boys with a second place was Xavier Chavez, 11:52; fourth Zac Pickett, 12:22; seventh John Strand, 12:32; eighth Andres Cornejo, 12:33; 11th Jayden Lopez, 12:48; 12th David Plascenia, 12:50; and 13th Moises Grajeda, 12:56.
“The varsity girls improved their ranking by placing second in the race. Last time they were third,” Heflin said.
Two of the Lady Cougars ended in the top ten.
“Leading the way was Yajaira Salinas in seventh at 21:54, ninth was Nora Nash 22:09,” Heflin noted.
In 11th was Jackie Lau, 22.22; 13th Marisol Aguayo, 23:00; 26th Gabriella Avalos, 25:11; Lizeth Calderon 33rd in 25:57, 44th was Anna Bonfiglio, 28:28.
“The big news was the varsity boys. They placed second again but Eddy Calderon decided to make every pay attention to him,” explained Heflin. “At the 2-mile make he was 30 yards in the lead. Somewhere in the last mile two Hughson runners passed him. He has been working too hard lately to let them just run by so he dug down and retained the lead and finished the race with a 6-second lead.”
Calderon won the race with a personal best of 17:30.
“Before this season he has never broken into the 17-minute mark. So far this season he has hit it three times,” Heflin said of the standout runner. “It is nice to see when hard work pays off.”
Behind him in sixth place was Zack Gardner, 18:17; 13th Samuel Fletcher, 18:16; 14th Juan Lopez, 18:50; Rex Robbins ran 18:51 for 15th; 16th was Emiliano Ramirez, 18:51; 18th Gabriel Romero, 18:55.
“Our top seven were in the top 18 of the race. If we can move our two through seven up a little the score will change drastically,” Heflin noted. “The last TVL race of the season should be interesting.”
This Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Woodward Reservoir, the Cougars will be hosting the Escalon Invite. Around 20 teams are signed up to participate.
“The usual favorites such as Hughson, Ripon, Bret Harte and Summerville, will be there. Pleasant Grove will be coming down from Elk Grove to spice up the field and a very strong team from North Tahoe is planning to come if they can get transportation,” noted Heflin. “It should be an exciting field.”
First race of the day will be the freshman girls at 3:30 p.m.
That will be followed by freshman boys, 3:50 p.m.; sophomore girls, 4:10 p.m.; sophomore boys, 4:30 p.m.
Varsity girls take off at 4:50 p.m., varsity boys at 5:20 p.m. and the JV boys and girls round out the races, starting at 5:50 p.m.
“If you plan to come and see the event, park fees are required,” Heflin said.
After the Invitational, Cougar runners will head out for their annual training weekend at Bear River Reservoir.