Sophomore Malena Grover established a new Hartnell College record for the five kilometer course at Golden Gate Park Friday competing in the Lou Vasquez Invitational. Grover, who became the first Lady Panther to run under 19 minutes last fall at the state championship, became the first woman to do the same touring the 3.1 mile layout at Golden Gate Park. Her time of 18:45 placed her second overall to top Northern California individual Jenica Dodge of American River College. It is a two woman battle for the top spot in the region with Dodge having the early season advantage 2-0. Grover is trying to become the first Hartnell College female to win the overall regional title in 35 years since all-time great Maria Trujillo accomplished the feat in 1980. Also placing in the top fourteen overall were Rachel Shimabukuro (19:27) in fifth, Nancy Rodriguez(19:34) in seventh, Cynthia Tovar (20:13) eighth, Yvette Felix (20:20) eleventh, Carly Zako (20:24) twelfth, Lizette Garcia (20:30) thirteenth, and Yessika Mayo (20:31) in fourteenth. Shimabukuro and Rodriguez produced the fifth and sixth best performances in school history. As a team, the Lady Panthers continued to dominate their regional competition scoring just 28 points to take the overall title over American River College with 65 points and College of the Sequoias at 76 points.
Without state leader American River College in attendance the Panther men had little challenge placing seven men in the top fourteen. The Panthers successfully decreased the time from their first scoring finisher to fifth final scorer to just 15 seconds, the smallest margin all season. Two former King City High School standouts Eduardo Orozco and Edgar Bonilla lead the men with Orozco in third (20:58) and Bonilla in fourth (21:02). Orozco becomes one of the few freshman to eclipse the 21 minute mark on the Golden Gate Park course. Fellow freshmen Jorge Sanchez (21:06) was sixth and Williams Ordaz (21:12) in eighth along with sophomore Rene Siqueiros (21:13) rounded out the scoring Panthers. Also running well were Angel Mejia (21:22) in tenth and Diego Avila (21:28) in thirteenth. The Panthers scored an equally impressive 30 points to outdistance Northern California third ranked and Coast Conference foe Las Positas College with 96 points.
The Panthers will host their annual home meet the Toro Park Invitational on Friday, October 9 at 3:30pm starting with the women's 3 mile race. The Toro Park Invitational will serve the 2015 Northern California Regional Championship preview and it is expected to attract all the programs in the region.