Toro Park Cross Country Course, Salinas
The American River College men's cross country continued their dynasty atop the Northern California region by winning their 6th straight Northern California title in convincing fashion. The Beavers of ARC scored just 28 points and had an average team time of 20:37 (new course record team time) for their top 5 runners. Hartnell finished 2nd with 52 points and a team time of 20:58. Las Positas was 3rd with 130 points and an average team time of 21:51. State qualifying teams included the top 3 plus Santa Rosa, Fresno, Sequoias, DeAnza, Butte, San Francisco, and Redwoods.
On the individual side ARC and Hartnell dominated taking 11 of the top 14 "All-NorCal" places. The overall win went to Abdul Hamid of ARC in 20:20. Second was Jason Intravaia of Las Positas in 20:23. Third place was Donnie Plazola of ARC in 20:24. Rounding out the top 7 All NorCal first team were 4th place Adam Gonzalez (Sequoias 20:30), 5th place Kevin Chavira (Fresno 20:31), 6th place Edgar Bonilla (Hartnell 20:34), and Sean Gregg (ARC 20:39). The All-NorCal 2nd team was made up of all ARC and Hartnell runners. 8th place was David French (ARC 20:50), 9th place was Ross Walker (ARC 20:53), 10th place was Rene Sisqueros (Hartnell 20:58), 11th was Tito Chaidez (Hartenll 21:01), 12th was Jorge Sanchez (Hartnell 21:04), 13th was Diego Avila (Hartnell 21:12), and 14th was Oscar Mora (Hartnell 21:24).
For the first time since 2005 Hartnell College played host to the CCCAA Northern California Regional Championship at Toro Park. Under ideal race conditions, both teams performed as expected with the Lady Panthers repeating as regional championship for the third time in school history. The previous back to back championships came in 2002-2003 and 2009-2010. The Panther men faced the #1 ranked team in the state in American River College and despite have all seven runners finish before the Beavers sixth runner, the visiting team was victorious 28 to 52.
Sophomore Malena Grover, who prepped at Salinas High School, would close out her Hartnell College career with a shot an individual regional title on her home course. A Hartnell woman had not won the regional since 1980 when future Olympian Maria Trujillo accomplished the feat when colleges were separated into large and small school divisions. Grover did produce her best time at Toro Park after six years of running the course through high school and at Hartnell College with a time of 18:01 but was only good enough for second place to Jenica Dodge of American River College. Grover has chased Dodge all season though four invitationals having never been closer than 12 seconds but this time closed the gap to just five seconds 17:56 to 18:01 . Grover's time bested the Hartnell College record for Toro Park by 25 seconds and makes her the third fastest all-time community college performer on the course. In placing second, Grover became the first Lady Panther to take the runner-up position since Meri Hawkins did in 2004. The Lady Panthers had three other all-regional performances in sophomores Rachel Shimabukuro and Lizette Garcia and freshman Yessika Mayo. Shimabukuro improved on her 2014 finish moving up to fifth this year in 18:56. It was the first time in her career ever to dip under the 19 minute barrier at Toro Park and makes her the third best performer in school history. Garcia might be the most improved runner not just in the region but in the state with the seventh place finish in 19:17. As a freshman, Garcia's season ended as the ninth runner for the Lady Panthers having only competed at the conference championship and served as alternate for the final two competitions. The time was also a 44 second improvement from the regional preview competition where she only placed eighth. Mayo only ran one season of cross country as a senior at Salinas High School but then departed for Mexico for school for two years where she did not continue running. Last spring, she returned to Salinas and produced a tenth place finish in 19:47 in just her first collegiate season. Sophomore Maria Rodriguez placed 21st in a lifetime best 21;17. Freshmen Yvette Felix (20:32) and Adriana Jimenez (20:36) completed the team and placed 24th and 25th respectively. Sophomores Nancy Rodriguez, twelfth last year, and Cynthia Tovar, seventeenth, were held out in hopes they will be ready to compete at the CCCAA Championship on November 21. As a team, the ladies tallied 42 points to repeat as champions, the third lowest team total in championship history and a three point improvement from last year's state fourth place team score. Next year, the Lady Panthers will try and become the first women's program to win three consecutive regional titles since West Valley College from 1989-1991. The Lady Panthers will head to the state championship on November 21 as the third ranked team, the highest ranking in school history.