Escalon’s varsity cross country runners traveled this past week to Mount SAC in Walnut, near Pasadena, for a major meet.
“This is one of the biggest cross country meets in the nation. This is such a big meet that the team only takes varsity and only varsity runners that have run a certain time,” explained head coach Rick Heflin. “Unlike most invites this one actually pulls runners off the course if they are not at a certain point before the next race starts.”
With 50 races on Friday for just Divisions 3, 4 and 5 and another 59 races for Divisions 1 and 3 on Saturday, it was very competitive. The Cougars contingent included seven boys and five girls.
“The varsity girls competed as individuals since the coaching staff decided after the morning workout to rest Yajaira Salinas,” said Heflin. “She has been working back from a calf pull and after the morning workout, we decided to rest her for Wednesday’s league final. The girls that ran did well.”
Leading the Lady Cougar group on a very hilly and tough course was Jackie Lau. She placed 28th with a time of 22:40. Next was Nora Nash at 51st with a time of 23:52. Marisol Aguayo was 52nd at 23:58 and Bella Avalos was 89th in 25:39.
“The big news was the varsity boys. They dominated the race,” Heflin noted. “Coming in fifth out of 119 runners was Eddy Calderon in 17:32, next was Zack Gardner, 15th in 18:03.”
Finishing 18th was Sam Fletcher in 18:10; 21st, Gabe Romero in 18:20; 25th, Juan Lopez in 18.29; 30th, Emiliano Ramirez in 18:38 and 35th, Rex Robbins in 18:49.
“Our seventh runner (Robbins) finished before the second place team’s third runner,” Heflin said of the outstanding day for the Cougars. “The next day we took them on a college visit to expose them to the next level. If we want our student athletes to dream big, we need to show them what is out there.”
The Cougars will run today, Wednesday, Oct. 26 in the final Trans-Valley League meet of the season.