SALINAS VALLEY — South Monterey County runners placed well at the Pacific Coast Athletic League Cross Country Championships to punch their tickets to the Central Coast Section Championship Meet taking place Saturday, Nov. 11, on the Crystal Springs course in Belmont.
At last Saturday’s PCAL finals at the Palo Corona course, three varsity teams from South County placed in their respective divisions and three athletes qualified to CCS for their individual performances.
The King City girls varsity team snapped a long championship drought by coming home with a title after winning the Mission Division.
“Our last league title for the girls was in 1991,” said King City head cross country coach Miguel Zamudio. “This championship was 32 years in the making. Now the biggest battle begins, as we need to work hard to be competitive next year. All season long it has been between Rose Ruelas, Alexa Flores and Yahaira Torres for our top runner spot. Each Center Meet one of them came in first, and there is no telling who will lead the team at CCS.”
Ruelas ran 21:32 to place second in the Mission Division and earn a spot on the All-League team. Torres (22:15) placed fifth to make the All-League team, and Flores (22:22) placed sixth and made the All-League team.
Joining the trio of standouts for the champion Lady Mustangs were: Zamantha Fletes (23:33), Kimberly Gomez (23:53) and Natalie Garcia (25:08).
King City will compete in the Division III race at the CCS finals.
The Mustang boys placed second behind the Gabilan champion Alisal High School Trojans. Members of the King City boys team were: Andrew Quiahua (17:58), Adrian Hernandez (18:12), Alvaro Garcia (18:15), Gabriel Clemente (18:21), Juaquin Arriaga (18:22), Rodrigo Santiago (18:30) and Jason Garcia (18:33).
The Greenfield boys qualified as a team to CCS with a third-place finish in the Mission Division behind champion Monte Vista Christian and second place Hollister. Leading the Bruins was sophomore Fabian Serrano (17:21), who made the All-League team and placed second in the division.
Rounding out the Bruin boys team were: Ivan Martinez (18:45), Prisciliano Garcia (19:10), Irvin Hernandez (19:12), Rodrigo Velasquez (19:27), Adrian Picazo (19:32) and Carlos Martinez (19:43).
Greenfield will also compete in the Division III finals.
The Gonzales boys just missed qualifying for the CCS Division IV championships after finishing second in the Cypress Division behind champion Marina High School.
Giovanni Ochoa was the Division champion and made the All-League team with a time of 17:23. Last year Ochoa ran in the CCS finals and qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships in Fresno. He will represent Gonzales as an individual.
“Congratulations to Giovanni Ochoa for being the league champion and to our JV boys as they were league champions,” said Gonzales head coach Margie Daniels. “Gio is one of those athletes every coach dreams of … talented, athletic, coachable, but is humble and is always there for his teammates. He has grit too and all of his hard work gets him closer to his goals.”
Soledad High School will have two runners competing at CCS in the Division III boys race, as Kevin Ramirez (18:14) and Giovanni Bravo (18:20) earned spots based on their individual times.
The CCS Championship Meet on Nov. 11 will begin at 10 a.m. with the Division III boys race, followed by the Division III girls race at 10:35. The Division IV boys race will take place at 11:10 a.m.