Toros make history with win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
A pack of Matilda Torres Toros runners compete in Wednesday’s triangle meet in Memorial Stadium. Race winner Esaud Vargas (left) gives a thumbs up to his performance in which he became the first individual event winner in the school’s history, winning the boys race by five seconds.
Just the fact of being able to race in a cross country meet is accomplishment enough, but Matilda Torres Toros runner Esaud Vargas became the first in school history to win an event with a five second victory in the boys cross country triangle meet at Madera’s Memorial Stadium.
Vargas overtook Madera’s Victor Jimenez over the final mile to win the boys race by five seconds in a time of 14:19 Wednesday afternoon in a meet between Madera, Matilda Torres and San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno.
“That was our first individual win,” Torres head coach Connor Nolen said. “He’s having an outstanding freshman year. Last year at Desmond Middle School, he didn’t even crack the top 7 boys. Now, he’s our leader. It’s a real confidence booster for our program to know we have standout runners to win races like that.”
Jimenez took the early lead and built it up to about 12 seconds. However, after the runners headed to the back athletic fields, Vargas started closing the gap. When the runners were on Olive Avenue in the final mile, Vargas overtook Jimenez and took the race victory.
“I didn’t know who Memorial had or what Madera was going to bring today,” Nolen said. “We had a gameplan moving forward. We adjusted on the fly. I saw Vargas was in striking distance and told him to win it today.”
The Toros practiced pack running to a science. The Toros had eight runners in the top 10 and 10 in the top 12.
“I want to teach them the importance of pack running,” Nolen said. “It was great to practice that today. It was a great opportunity with the muddy course and the conditions. It was a great learning experience. In cross county, you never know about the course. As freshmen, they are learning a lot and it’s a good opportunity for growth.”
Vargas’ teammate Armando Guzman was third. Then, came a group of five Torres runners in the next 15 seconds, led by Alvino Diaz in sixth. Malaky Beas was seventh, Bryan Perez was eighth, Miguel Ramirez was ninth and Josh Damian was 10th.
Martinez torches girls XC field
Madera’s Julia Martinez took the early lead and was running by herself before the first lap was completed in Memorial Stadium during Wednesday’s meet.
She extended her lead to 20 seconds by the second mile and was well in front by the end of the race finishing in 15:38, almost a minute-and-a-half before teammate Jimena Rivera crossed the finish line.
Martinez was so far out in front that the only challenge was hearing head coach Russ Stanford’s voice to keep her pushing for a better time.
After a Memorial runner placed third, five straight Coyotes crossed the finish line beginning with Mayce Atherton in fourth. Karissa Diaz was sixth and Evelyn Zambrano was four seconds behind in sixth. Jocelyn Medina was seventh and Angela Garcia finished eighth.
Zuly Martinez was the first Toros runner across the line in 10th place.