SALINAS VALLEY — Competing in their last race as junior college runners, Ashley Ochoa of Gonzales and Esteban Deniz of King City earned All-American status for the Hartnell College Panthers cross country team at last Saturday’s Community College State Championships.
Ochoa and Deniz led a group of six South Monterey County runners competing at the Nov. 19 state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Ochoa placed 13th in the women’s race in a time of 18:49, and Deniz placed second in the men’s race behind Jesse Alvarado of Mt. SAC (19:51). Ochoa’s teammate Miriah Camacho placed ninth with a time of 18:47 to join Ochoa as All-American runners.
At last year’s State Championships, Camacho earned All-American by finishing eighth overall and Deniz finished in 16th place, while Ochoa was in 28th place. The women’s distance in junior college is 3.1 miles, and the men’s distance is 4.0 miles.
The Panther men finished in fourth place at the state meet and the women’s team placed 10th. Mt. SAC of Walnut won both the women’s and men’s division.
Other South Monterey County runners for Hartnell were: Maria Garcia of Greenfield, 106th place, 21:54; Daniel Pantoja of Greenfield, 35th place, 21:11; Ricky Diaz III of King City, 58th place, 21:31; and Josh Riley of King City, 115th place, 22:35.