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Merced has distinct Madera feel

Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics

Former Madera cross country runner Cristal Rivera runs the course at the Fresno State Invitational at Woodward Park. She placed fourth on the team to help the Bulldogs place third on Sept. 9.


In looking at the Merced College Blue Devils football roster, many will see a familiar theme — players from Madera.

There are seven players from the Coyotes on the roster, beginning with sophomore quarterback Nathaniel Nelson and sophomore linemen Roy Powell and Cisco Herrera. They are joined this year by linebackers Justin Landero, Chris Chapa and Pablo Villasana along with lineman Roy Powell.

They have helped Merced to a 3-0 start before tonight’s game against West Hills College. In last week’s win over Shasta College, Chapa led the Madera crew with five tackles. Mitchell had two and Landero had one. Landero also had an interception.

Junior outside hitter Brielle Hefner (Madera) is second on the Fresno State women’s volleyball team with 122 kills. She has played in 44 of 45 sets and has started 11 of 12 matches this season. She is averaging 2.77 kills per set and also has 25 blocks, third on the team.

Cristal Rivera (Madera) helped the Fresno State women’s cross country team to a third place team finish at the Fresno State Invitational on Sept. 9. She placed fourth on the team with a time of 20:21 in 26th place, just in front of teammate Sami Shields.

Liberty quarterback Markie Brandt has been receiving snaps all season long for Dordt College. He has 18 carries this season for 65 yards. He also is also 1-for-4 passing for 22 yards. He threw a touchdown and scored a touchdown in a Week 2 59-14 win over Waldorf College.

Kris Bueno (Madera) had two catches for 45 yards for Minot College in last week’s loss to Southwest Minnesota. He has three catches for 50 yards this season.

Fresno Pacific women’s soccer player Annissia Gonzalez (Madera) has a goal in five matches this season. Gonzalez scored her goal in a 4-4 draw with Central Washington on Sept. 14.

Jonnie Montano (Madera South) placed 41st for the Fresno Pacific women’s cross country team in the Sept. 9 Fresno State Invitational. She finished the course in a time of 21:41.

Jasmine Gonzales (Madera) placed 51st at the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 16 to lead the University of Pacific women’s cross country team to a 13th place finish. She finished the 6K course just two-tenths of a second off her personal best time of 21:49.2. She also led Pacific with the individual championship to lead the Tigers to the team title at the Big Wave Invitational on Sept. 2.

In his first race as a Colorado Buffalo, redshirt freshman Eduardo (Lalo) Herrera (Madera South) finished second on the team and third overall to help the Buffaloes to the team title at the Colorado State Invitational on Sept. 1. He was just four seconds behind teammate Ethan Gonzales, who won the race with a time of 14:54.

Defensive lineman Hunter O’Brion (Liberty) had three tackles in last week’s UC Davis victory over Portland State.

After getting let go by Nevada, kicker Evan Rios (Madera) has found his way to the Fresno City Rams. He has made four-of-five field goals and was 11-of-11 on point afters for the Rams.

Alyssa Burton (Madera) has played in all six matches for the College of the Sequoias-Visalia Giants women’s volleyball team. She had 28 kills this season to go with 28 blocks, including 21 solo blocks. Also on the team is Madera South’s Lanaye Brewer, who has played in one match this season.

Kinsey Kerby (Madera) has played in all eight matches this season for the Merced Blue Devils women’s volleyball team. She has 32 kills and also leads the team with 62 digs.

In seven matches this season, Raina Wristen (Liberty) leads a Madera contingent on the Fresno City College women’s soccer team. She is second on the team with eight goals and also second with five assists. Jasmine Garibay (Madera South) and Sophia Zertuche (Madera South) both have two goals and three assists. Elvira Hernandez (Madera) has also played in all seven matches and has a goal and an assist. Also on the team is Franki Navarro (Madera South).

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