Madera falls in XC battle with Sanger


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s Naisaiah Reyes battles to a second place finish in Wednesday’s dual meet race against Sanger.

Going against one of the best teams in the Valley, Madera Coyotes cross country coach Russ Stanford knew his runners were in for a tough time, but, eventually, was encouraged by what he saw.


The Apaches’ girls team is the reigning Div. II Central Section champions and outpointed the Coyotes 49-19 to win the rare dual meet at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.


“It’s great to have a meet on campus,” Stanford said. “It’s old school to run on campus. It just makes everyone friendly towards each other You get that tight competition and when it’s done, you can turn around and not have 200 kids from other teams. This causes friendship within the sport with a competition like this.”


Sanger’s girls team finished first, second and third, but Madera runners Sophia Mirelez and Julia Martinez were running with them.


Mirelez placed fourth, but she was just three seconds behind the winning runner. Martinez was two seconds behind Mirelez in fifth place.


However, Madera’s next runner didn’t cross the line for about two minutes when Jimena Rivera placed 11th. Evelyn Zambrano placed 14th and Mayce Atherton was 15th to complete the team scoring.


Karissa Daza was 16th, followed by Leslie Reyes in 18th, Jocelyn Molina in 20th and Natalie Giron in 22nd.


“This is a quality Sanger girls team,” Stanford said. “They took second in Valley last year and didn’t lose anybody. I feel sorry for them that we’re not having Valley and State this year for them. They would tear it up.”


Although the Coyote boys team is only three runners deep, it was tough run by Naisaiah Reyes that highlighted the second race of the meet.


“He’s been hurting a little bit,” Stanford said. “We’ve been working on it. He was determined to prove that he can still run. That was a big lift and nice to see.”


Reyes ran with the top four runners and ended up with a gutsy second place finish, just a second behind the winner and a second before the third place runner.


Victor Jimenez was seventh for the Coyotes, followed by Aaron Jackson in eighth place.


The Coyotes next run today at Bullard, beginning at 3 p.m.

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