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Cross Country Runners Keep Up Hectic Pace
Cougar varsity runner Luga Mendoza, front left, takes off to start the boys varsity race Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Woodward Reservoir outside Oakdale. Just behind him is teammate Zach Gardner. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Hosting their annual invitational at Woodward Reservoir on Wednesday, the Cougar cross country squads also got strong performances at the recent TVL meet and headed to Bear River Reservoir for their annual training weekend.

“We have been running a ton lately,” said coach Rick Heflin.

Starting with the league meet in late September, the team has gotten on a roll.

“Right now the Escalon varsity girls are in second place in the league. Nora Nash led the Escalon effort (at the TVL Meet #2) with a fourth place finish of 21:29. The rest of the top seven were Sierra Hernandez, Marisol Aguayo, Leone Rivers, Veronica Grajeda, Farley Moore, and Nicole Luis.,” said Heflin.

The JV girls are still in first place.

“Even with moving two runners up to varsity the JV stepped it up and still took the top place, led by third place Gabby Rigg at 14:28,” Heflin explained. “Also in the top seven were Emily McPherrin, Taylor Noche, Ashleigh Strand, Natalie Barry, Carly Stewart, Daisy Pantoja.”

The varsity boys moved up one spot to third place with a strong showing from Kyle Jimenez, Luga Mendoza, and Zach Gardner. The final four were Eddie Calderon, Devin Carpenter, Jarod Blakeley, and Anthony Gutierrez.

John Luun was the top finisher in the JV boys race at 12:46.

“Fast forward to the Escalon Invitational,” Heflin said. “We had 17 teams participate including Bret Harte, Hughson, Ripon, Summerville and West High. The frosh/soph girls won the race, just edging out St Mary’s, led by Marisol Aguayo in second place with a time of 15 flat.”

Also running strong were Gabby Rigg, Natalie Barry, Taylor Noche, Asheigh Strand, and Emily McPherrin.

“The varsity girls also won their race led by Nora Nash in fifth place at a time of 22:15,” Heflin explained, “followed by Leone Rivers, Sierra Hernandez, Veronica Grajeda, Emily Avalos, Farley Moore, and Avery Mello.

“Our top JV girl of the day and the only Escalon individual champ was Flor Algandar. Placing fifth was our top JV boy, Philip Tilbury.”

The varsity boys placed fourth with Kyle Jimenez leading the effort with a 10th place finish at 19:14. Zach Gardner, Luga Mendoza, Devin Carpenter, Eddie Calderon, John Rivara, and Jarod Blakeley rounded out the top seven. Sophomore boys placed sixth with Jared Wheeler tops for Escalon in fifth place with a time of 13:28.

“This week we also had our jog-a-thon and training weekend. Both events were very successful. Thank you to all of our supporters that gave donations A special ‘thank you’ to the sports boosters for their donations and constant support of all sports,” Heflin said.