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CHS, CV runners compete at league meets
Alexis Landa
Central Valley boys cross country standout Alexis Landa finished first overall at the the Central California Conference ‘s third cluster meet. - photo by Photo courtesy of StanCo Distance

Four members of Central Valley High School’s cross country program brought home medals from the Central California Conference’s third cluster meet, including Alexis Landa, Armando Guajardo, Mariana Campos and Althea Mumford.

“The medals reinforced the hard work the kids have been putting in,” Hawks’ head coach Michael Mrgudic said. “They deserved it. They did amazing.”

Central Valley had a total of 18 student-athletes compete at the CCC’s final meet, staged Oct. 26 in Atwater.

“Everyone who finished the race ran a personal-best time,” Mrgudic said. “The average margin of setting a new personal record was 95 seconds. The range for PRs was from 48 seconds to 3 minutes, 29 seconds.”

Landa, Jackson Stokes, Emanuel Barajas, Frankie Klino and Joshua Michelena helped lead Central Valley’s frosh-soph boys team to a fifth-place showing.

The Hawks totaled 110 points on their way to finishing ahead of Golden Valley (131).

Merced (41), Atwater (71), Buhach Colony (75) and Patterson (82) placed first, second, third and fourth, respectively.

Landa, a sophomore, placed first with a time of 11 minutes, 03 seconds on the 2-mile course.

He ran third-fastest time in Central Valley history.

Landa shattered his personal-best time by 62 seconds.

“One word to describe his performance is dominant,” said Mrgudic. “He led every step of the way. I’m not surprised.”

Stokes (12:45), Barajas (13:21), Klino (13:27), Michelena (13:57) and Marco Coria (14:56) placed 20th, 29th, 30th, 33rd and 37th, respectively.

Campos and Mumford led Central Valley’s frosh-soph girls squad, which failed to post a team score due to its thin lineup.

“We would have gotten second if we had a full team,” Mrgudic said. 

Campos, a sophomore, placed second with a time of 13 minutes, 37 seconds on the 2-mile course.

She shattered her personal -best time by 48 seconds.

“Mariana set a new school record,” said Mrgudic. “She was in the lead for most of the race.”

Mumford, a freshman, also made program history. 

She posted a time of 13:49 enroute to eclipsing her personal-best time by 77 seconds.

“Althea is second all-time,” said Mrgudic.

Guajardo, LaDre Sengsoury, Xavier Ramirez, Jonathan Macias and Kevin Garcia guided Central Valley’s junior-varsity boys to a runner-up finish with a team score of 43.

First-place Atwater totaled 42 points.

“We were one point away from winning the JV title,” said Mrgudic, whose team topped Buhach Colony (63), Golden Valley (86) and Patterson (99). “If one of our top-five guys had beaten one more runner, it would have gone to a tiebreaker. We would have won because our sixth man was ahead of Atwater’s sixth man.”

Guajardo placed second with a time of 11 minutes, 33 seconds on the 2-mile course. 

He shattered his personal-best time by 61 seconds.

“Armando has been consistent all year,” Mrgudic said. “He’s a very talented runner, just like Alexis.”

Sengsoury (12:16), Ramirez (12:21), Macias (12:38), Garcia (13:07) and Cesar Hernandez (13:15) placed sixth, eighth, 10th, 17th and 19th, respectively.

Victoria Guajardo and Ashby Anaya represented Central Valley during the JV girls race.

Guajardo (16:21) took eighth, while Anaya (18:57) finished 14th.

Bulldog Luna medals

Ceres High’s cross country program closed out the Western Athletic Conference season this past week.

The Bulldogs raced at the WAC Championships on Oct. 27 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

Ceres High’s girls totaled 75 points en route to a fourth-place finish.

Mountain House (30), Lathrop (57) and Los Banos (64) took first, second and third, respectively.

The Bulldogs didn’t have enough runners to post a team score at the 2021 WAC finals.

“I thought the girls did great,” Bulldog Coach Owen Brown said. “Their times were decent. I’m definitely very happy with them. I’m proud of the work they’ve put in. The good thing is we’re losing just one girl (to graduation).”

Brianna Luna, Evelyn Alvarez, Jaden Stahl, Stephanie Espinoza and Liset Renteria contributed to Ceres High’s point total.

Luna, a freshman, took home a medal.

She placed eighth overall with a time of 22 minutes, 25 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.

“She’s the only freshmen to place in the top eight,” said Brown. “She’s been steadily improving. It’s been exciting to see.”

Alvarez (23:17), Jaden Stahl (23:44), Espinoza (26:33), Renteria (26:36), Priscilla Ibarra (28:47), Jelaine Esguerra (29:28), Jayda Bryant (31:34) and Daneli Oropeza-Mendoza (32:03) finished 12th, 13th, 26th, 27th, 31st, 33rd, 36th and 37th, respectively.

Ceres High’s boys posted a team score of 146 en route to a sixth-place finish.

The Bulldogs bested Los Banos (201) and Johansen (208).

Beyer (34), Mountain House (37), Grace Davis (87), Lathrop (106) and Pacheco (144) took first, second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

“We did better than last year,” said Brown, whose team finished at the bottom of the standings in 2021. “We’re going to keep trying to move in the right direction.”

Erick Valladares-Ponce, Reymundo Soto, Cesar Bolanos-Aleman, Yahir Ruiz and Simon Pezzoni contributed to Ceres High’s point total.

Valladares-Ponce (18:45), Soto (19:18), Bolanos-Aleman (19:36), Ruiz (19:55), Pezzoni (19:58), Eduardo Garcia (21:15), Salvador Erenas-Rios (21:30), Gabriel Sandoval (21:37), Martin Bolanos-Aleman (21:58), Diego Ayala (22:31), Arturo Estrada (23:40), Samuel Mariscal (24:27), Aaron Lopez (24:41), Alejandro Plantillas-Rosas (24:48) and Javier Torres (26:04) placed 24th, 29th, 32nd, 36th, 39th, 57th, 58th, 59th, 63rd, 66th, 72nd, 76th, 77th, 78th and 81st, respectively.

“A bunch of the boys set personal records,” Brown said. “That means they keep getting better.”

Ceres High’s frosh-soph boys posted a team score of 183 en route to a seventh-place finish.

The Bulldogs topped Johansen (215).

Mountain House 929), Beyer (56), Los Banos 985), Lathrop (96), Pacheco (132) and Grace Davis (140) took first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Sergio Torres, Jose Carranza, Angel Jacuez, Zachary Chastain and Edwin Martinez contributed to Ceres High’s point total.

Torres (12:30), Carranza (14:03), Jacuez (14:07), Chastain (17:00), Martinez (18:01) and Alexander Vas Dinis (19:03) placed 14th, 38th, 41st, 65th, 67th and 68th, respectively, on the 2-mile course.

Ceres High’s frosh-soph girls and junior-varsity boys and girls programs didn’t have enough runners to post team scores.

Alexa Romo led the frosh-soph girls team as she completed the 2-mile course in 16 minutes, 46 seconds while finishing in 19th place.

Miranda Zepeda (17:50) placed 29th.

Israel Juarez (13:46) led Ceres High’s junior-varsity boys team with a fourth-place finish.

Leoncio Bautista (13:53), Erik Bonilla (14:06) and Atul Julka (15:44) placed fifth, seventh and 11th, respectively.

Ceres High’s junior-varsity girls team had just one competitor.

Jocelin Lopez-Yepez (24:36) placed fifth.

Brianna Luna
Ceres High’s Brianna Luna placed eighth while competing at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 27 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. - photo by Photo courtesy of StanCo Distance