The top-ranked Madera South Stallions boys cross country team showed its depth with a convincing victory at the Rough Rider Invitational in Woodward Park.
The Stallions, who are looking for their ninth straight Central Section title and fifth straight Div. I title, are in the stretch run to November’s Valley and State championship run with their win Friday.
“This year has been interesting about how things have shaped out for us,” head coach Eloy Quintana said. “I tried to challenge our kids and make a statement. We haven’t made that statement that we’re the best in the Valley and one of the top teams in the state and we did it Friday. They set themselves up as one of the top teams in the state.”
The Stallions easily outpaced McFarland, earning 46 place points against McFarland’s 101.
The section’s top-ranked runner, Miguel Villar, won the race by 13 seconds with a time of 15:32.2.
Nicholas Hernandez placed sixth and was 23 seconds behind Villar. Heir apparent, sophomore Victor Ochoa, placed ninth with a time of 16:01. Christian Nevarez was fourth on the team in 12th place and Adrian Alvarez finished the Stallions’ scoring, in 19th place.
Seth Garcia was sixth on the Stallions in 27th place out of 247 runners at the event.
“It was our best race, yet, as a team,” Quintana said. “We were very satisfied with their performance, and so were the kids. They were happy, as well.”
Meanwhile, the Stallions’ girls cross country team just missed a title of its own in a close race for the Rough Rider title. The Stallions finished with 120 place points to finish second while Liberty-Bakersfield won the event with 120 place points. Rocklin was third with 134 points and Nevada union was fourth with 142 points.
Veronica Ortega led the Stallions with a seventh place finish in a time of 19:32.5.
Marlen Martinez-Lopez placed 19th and was second on the team. Freshman Diana Iniguez was third on the Stallions in 30th place. Freshman Triny Leon was fourth in 37th place and freshman Dariana Miramontes was fifth in 39th place.
“We’re very young and that’s a great thing,” Quintana said. “That means we’ll have a very bright future. They have been very valuable for our team. I have to give credit to our middle school coaches to get them ready for high school competition. When it comes to competing, they know how to take care of business.
Perla Jimenez was sixth on the team in 50th place and Savaanah Garcia finished 85th.
The Stallions will be in action Friday night at the Clovis North Twilight Invitational.