Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Unique Ford jumps out to the early lead at the start of the Varsity girls race, which she won by 27 seconds, at the Madera Invitational in Town and Country Park.
It was almost like returning to status quo for the Madera Coyotes and Madera South Stallions cross country teams in the Madera Invitational at Town and Country Park.
Madera South had six runners place in the top seven to easily outpointed Madera (19-61) to win the varsity boys race. Leading the Stallions was Victor Ochoa, who won the race by 20 seconds over Sunnyside’s Aaron Rubio.
“We ran well,” Stallions head coach Eloy Quintana said. “From top to bottom, it was a good day. We had improvement. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re not looking to run our very best right now. I was really happy with our varsity boys. We have been having some struggles for whatever reason. Finally, today, we saw a step in the right direction.”
Led by Unique Ford, the Coyotes placed all five scoring runners in the top 10 to win the varsity girls race by seven points over Madera South.
Ford won the varsity girls race by 27 seconds over Madera South’s Dariana Miramontes.
“I think we are improving a lot more,” Madera head coach Russ Stanford said. “We are understanding what the team should be like. We’re working a lot harder than what they did in the past. The morning practices are helping. We’re running stronger in the afternoons. Their confidence is starting to get better.”
Stanford is trying to catch up after after taking over the cross country program in late August after previous coach Sal Lozano resigned.
“We still need to create this team unified feeling,” Stanford said. “There is still an individual feeling. It’s starting to come along. Coming in a little late has not helped that bonding issue. We said this year is little steps. We still have time to work on that bonding. I’m very pleased with today’s result.”
In the boys race, Ochoa led from the start and never looked to be challenged.
Freshman Remi Ochoa was the third runner across the finish line and was second on the team. Francisco Maciel placed fifth, nine seconds behind Ochoa. Luis Ortega was fifth on the team in sixth place and German Villavicencio finished in seventh place.
Madera’s Guillermo Guzman led his team with an eighth place finish. Almost 40 seconds passed before teammate Naisaiha Reyes crossed the finish line in ninth place. Miguel Simon was third on the Coyotes team in 13th place.
Celestino Luna placed 17th, Aaron Jackson was 18th and Angel Ruida finished 22nd for the Coyotes.
After Ford and Miramontes, Madera’s Linda Perez finished second on the Coyotes in third place. Paola Sanchez finished in eighth place and Julia Martinez was 16 seconds back in ninth place. Evelyn Zambrano was 10th, two seconds behind Martinez.
Rounding out the Coyotes were Alejandra Alonso in 16th and Jeasmine Castillo in 17th.
Perla Jimenez was the second Stallions runner across the finish line in fourth place. Maria Aguilar was third on the team in seventh place and Milca Martinez was 11th. Elisa Vega closed out the team scoring in 14th place. Betzabe Bautista was four seconds behind Vega in 15th place.
“The girls, without two runners I held out, held their own,” Quintana said. “Credit to Madera girls. They are good and ran well. I’m happy. We’re happy with our kids’ performance. We’ve been putting in some good solid mileage. We’re right where need to be right now. We’re sitting pretty. I’m happy.”