Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Seth Garcia leads his race to win an individual championship at the Madera Invitational on Saturday at Town and Country Park.
After weeks of traveling on Saturdays during the season to work up to the championships in November, the Madera and Madera South cross country teams each dominated while getting able to stay home during the Madera Invitational at Town and Country Park.
The Stallions boys cross country team, winners of the past nine Valley Championships, easily won the Madera Invitational, led by Seth Garcia, who won the race by 21 seconds over his teammate Victor Ochoa.
“We’re doing good,” head coach Eloy Montoya said. “We’re very young and developing young talent. The kids are hungry and are ready for success. That’s a cool thing as a coach to be around to see kids that are motivated, kids that want to be great and give you everything you got.”
The Coyotes’ girls team used Unique Ford’s championship to edge the Stallions to win the varsity girls race. Ford, along with Linda Perez, in third, and Olivia Zambrano, in fourth, beat the Stallions by four points.
“We’re doing well,” head coach Sal Lozano said. “The girls ran extremely strong. They are performing well. The boys, we lost some of our varsity runners. As a team, we didn’t do as well as we would have liked. We had two freshmen step up and do well on the varsity.”
The Madera Invitational comes at a convenient time for both teams. It basically falls in the middle of the season and just over a month before the County/Metro Athletic Conference championships.
“Today, they ran very tough,” Montoya said. “At this point in the season, we’re looking good. We’re a little tired, but our kids are tough. Usually, we will see improvements during the season. We will have setbacks. When we have a setback, we view it as an opportunity to be even better than before. It gives us an opportunity to work on something that we haven’t worked on.”
“We’re looking good for the girls,” Lozano said. “We’ll be in the running to win the Div. II Valley Championship. For the boys, we are trying to find some form of a team. Right now, it’s one race we do well and another we don’t do well.”
In the varsity boys race, Garcia took the lead from the start and didn’t give it up until he crossed the finish line in first place. He crossed the line and waited a little for Ochoa to come in second place.
Aaron Segura came in seventh, followed by Adrian Alvarez. Francisco Maciel completed the team scoring in 12th place and Alejandro Duran was 13th, but 20 seconds behind Duran. For good measure, Abelardo Pablo was seventh on the team in 15th place.
Kevin Keller led the Coyotes with a fourth place finish. Two seconds later, Gursharan Singh crossed the finish line in fifth place for the Coyotes. Moses Zavala placed third on the team with a 14th place finish. Naisaiha Reyes placed 20th and Gallermo Guzman placed 22nd for Madera.
“We had some bad luck,” Lozano said. “Our No. 3 runner fell off his motorcycle and had a concussion and our No. 4 runner was working on his Eagle Scout project.”
Ford took the lead from the start and didn’t relinquish it through Town and Country Park. She finished the race 13 seconds ahead of Madera South’s Veronica Ortega.
Madera’s Perez and Zambrano placed third and fourth, respectively.
Then, a trio of Madera South runners crossed the finish line, setting up a tight race for the team championship. Dariana Miramontes led the Stallions trio in sixth place. Perla Jimenez came in nine seconds later in seventh and Jayda Aguilar was 34 seconds back in eighth place.
Violet Sheriff was the fourth Coyote across the line in ninth place, eight seconds behind Aguilar.
Rebecca Yrigollen finished the Stallions team scoring with a 13th place finish. For good measure, Maria Aguilar was eight seconds back in 14th place.
Then came the wait for Madera’s fifth runner. Eleven seconds after Aguilar, Alejandra Alonso crossed the line in 15th place, securing the team title for the Coyotes.
Both Madera and Madera South will compete in the Clovis Invitational, which is scheduled to have more than 200 schools participate Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.