Coyote, Toro win individual titles at Madera Invite
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Sophia Mirelez finishes the 2.2-mile Madera Invitational in first place for Varsity Girls on Friday.
Racing at the Madera Municipal Golf Course is a relatively new concept for Central Valley cross country runners, including host Madera.
However, Madera’ Sophia Mirelez and Matilda Torres’ Ozzy Hernandez won the varsity girls and boys championships Friday afternoon.
Hernandez’s run helped lift the Toros to the team title, overtaking Clovis North by one point.
“That’s exciting,” Toros head coach Connor Jensen said. “It gives us a lot of confidence heading into the Clovis Invitational. We’re going to back off training a little so we can get a good 5K at Woodward Park for the Clovis Invitational.”
Hernandez won the race by two seconds over Clovis North’s Mathew Oaks. Noah Felix-Andrade joined Hernandez in the top five with a fifth place finish, 10 seconds behind Hernandez.
Miguel Ramirez earned a top 15 finish in 13th place while Esaud Vargas was fourth in 18th place. Vargas may have been the difference-maker. He placed less than a second ahead of a Clovis North runner to help earn the one-point team victory.
Ricardo Silva beat a runner by a second to score the deciding points for the Toros.
“This is our first full season as a program,” Jensen said. “The kids are figuring it out what a full season looks like. We are looking good. We have switched practices to the afternoon so we can get used to the heat. Once we back off a little and prepare for the bigger races, we’ll be fresh.”
Mirelez led three Clovis North runners across the finish line with a time of 12:32.40. She was three seconds ahead of second place and more than 20 seconds ahead of third place to lead the Coyotes to a second place team finish.
“They did exceptional,” head coach April Smith said of her girls team. “The last week, we’ve had air quality issues so they haven’t had to train consistently. Considering some of the situations they have been in with not being able to train, their heart overcomes all of that. I couldn’t be happier.”
Madera had three runners place in the top 10 while Clovis North had all five runners in the top 10.
Mace Atherton was 23 seconds behind Mirelez in fifth place. Angela Garcia was 15 seconds behind Atherton for seventh place.
Bianca Scott placed 14th and Tori Medrano was 25th to finish out the scoring.
“We feel very good in the stretch run,” Smith said of both her boys and girls teams. “They are going to surprise a few people and turn a few heads in the CMAC. If you look at the rankings, we haven’t run a three-mile course, yet. In the two-mile standards, they are in the top. I have no doubt that will carry over to the 3-mile.