Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Diana Lopez, left, and Unique Ford lead the senior girls race at Saturday’s DeWitt Invitational. Lopez won the race while Ford placed second.
With long-time Madera Coyotes cross country head coach Dennis DeWitt in attendance watching the meet with his name, the Coyotes and Stallions had solid showings in one of first bigger meets of the season in Town and Country Park.
The Madera girls team finished a close second to Clovis in the overall team score at the DeWitt Invitational on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Madera South boys team finished a solid fourth behind three Clovis schools.
“The team did really well,” Madera South co-head coach Sky Fierro said. “Our training is planned so we can run the fastest during championship season and too keep everyone healthy. We didn’t expect to run the best times of the year now. Right now, we’re looking at the right path to where we want to be.”
Madera’s Julia Martinez won the junior girls race while Linda Perez beat out teammate Unique Ford in the senior girls race for the title.
“Unique and Linda, I told them they need to fight with each other all the time,” Madera head coach Russ Stanford said. “You can’t just one get the other one. It was nice to see them battle with each other. I’m really proud of those girls, right now. The girls did okay. We’re working on staying close as a group. We didn’t have that last year. We were separated out quite a bit. The focus is to finish as a group, be a little tighter so the points aren’t so spread out. I think we had a good summer program that has helped us out.”
Remi Ochoa finished eighth for Madera South in the sophomore boys race while German Villavicencio also placed eighth to lead the Stallions in the junior boys race. Francisco Maciel also earned a top 10 finish in the senior boys race for the Stallions.
“They are either clicking mentally and they are enjoying the training and doing their best,” Fierro said. “Everything is on them and they are doing their part. Everything is looking good for the season.”
Fierro also pointed out the running of freshman Lisbeth Mendez, who placed ninth, and sophomore Diana Cortes, who also placed ninth.
“They both came out guns blazing,” he said.
Stanford was also proud of how well both of his teams were doing early in the season and he thinks the summer running program he instituted may have been a contributor
“We’re improving in every meet,” Stanford said. “We went to Dinuba last week and everyone improved by at least 30 seconds. This is a tough course because it’s all on grass. It’s tough on the athletes. The summer program helped these kids quite a lot. We’re working on team chemistry. I think we’re starting to bond. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll see how it rolls out. There’s always the unknowns.”
The Liberty Hawks also had a solid showing in the DeWitt Invitational, placing 18th in the boys scoring and 16th in the girls. Sophia Napier led the Hawks with a 17th place finish in the senior girls race. Freshman Dylan Devine placed 21st in the boys race to lead the Hawks’ boys team finishers.
The Coyotes will get a couple of weeks off from competition before they head to the Nevada Union Invitational in Grass Valley on Sept. 14. The Stallions will do the same before they run at the Morro Bay Invitational on Sept. 14.
Liberty will next run at the Kingsburg Invitational on Sept. 14.