EUREKA, Calif. - The Hartnell College cross country teams ventured north on Highway 101 to Eureka for the Beat the Heat Invitational hosted by College of the Redwoods. The affair featured teams from Santa Rosa Junior College, San Joaquin Delta College, Shasta College, College of the Siskiyous, Butte College, and host College of the Redwoods. The Panthers came out with decisive team victories in both races over the campus-laid course which featured a formidable obstacle aptly named "The Wall". The Lady Panthers were the only fully scoring team but tallied just 25 points for their first scoring five runners. The Panther men were able to score even less with their 21 point total. The ladies placed six runners and the men seven in the top 10 overall finishers in each race.
Leading the Lady Panthers were sophomores Leslie Oseguera and Yvette Tavarez, The pair ran nearly side by side the entire race finishing just one second apart at the conclusion on the 5km race. Oseguera finished third overall with Tavarez in fourth. For the Panther men, newcomer Ricky Esqueda returned to cross country action three years after graduating from San Benito High School. Esqueda placed second overall just 9 seconds from the top finisher Nicholas Brichta of host College of the Redwoods. Esqueda was followed by all-conference runner Christian Aldape and Norcal 1500m finalist Sergio Coronel. The trio finished 18 seconds apart. Alfredo Mejia, Jr. also enjoyed a solid first outing as a Panther placing fifth overall.
The Hartnell College cross country teams will face their first big test of the 2017 season in two weeks at the Fresno Invitational. Last fall, the Panther men opened the season with a surprising second place team finish, its highest in the last 10 years, on their way to a Northern California title. The Lady Panthers were a surprise sixth place overall in 2016 but return four sophomores from that squad.
(Courtesy, Hartnell College Cross Country)