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November 26, 2021

Cross Country | Hartnell runners prepare for state meet Saturday

Local high school alums among college athletes

SALINAS VALLEY — Hartnell College runners will continue their cross country season this Saturday, competing in the Community College State Meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Hartnell will be taking both its men and women’s teams for a shot at the team titles. The Panther teams won the Coast Conference and Nor Cal Championships and have many runners from South Monterey County on the teams.

Esteban Deniz, Danny Correa, Mario Avila and Josh Riley, all from King City, and Carlos Espinosa from Soledad were All-Coast Conference runners. Deniz, Correa and Avila also earned All-Region honors for their efforts at the Nor Cal finals. 

Other local runners on the Panther boys team were Rigo Garcia and Daniels Pantoja, both from Greenfield.

Hartnell freshman cross country runner Ashley Ochoa was a member of the All-Coast Conference and All-Region teams. Ochoa prepped at Gonzales High. (Contributed Photo)

Ashley Ochoa of Gonzales was an All-Coast Conference and All-Region runner for the Lady Panthers team. According to Panthers Head Coach Christopher Zepeda, Ochoa has shown much in her first-year as a college runner.

“Ashley has established herself as a top regional runner,” Zepeda said. “If she continues to train consistently, she will run some very fast times in track and be a contender for Nor Cal overall next fall. She’s got a ton of potential.”

A total of nine Panthers, including Ochoa, will have another year of eligibility to compete as cross country runners next season. 

“All our men from South County, except for Correa, have remaining eligibility next year,” Zepeda said. “We are six days out from the State meet and we are looking good.”

On Saturday, the Panther women’s team will run at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s race at 11 a.m.

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