Photos by Michael Ramirez
Runners from South County and beyond included (front and center) Luis Perez of Greenfield and (back row, from left) Beatriz Duarte of Watsonville, Williams Ordaz of King City, Andrew Martinez of Soledad, George Sanchez of Everett Alvarez and Alyssa Sanchez of Soledad.

Below, Hartnell College alumni that participated at the Salinas Valley Half Marathon included (from left) Brandi Hobson, Diego Leon, Yvette Felix, Amy Johnston, Tito Chavez and Justin Carrancho; and Monica Ruelas of Gonzales receives an award for placing at the Salinas Valley Half Marathon 5K.

SOUTH COUNTY — Seven South County runners were among the top placers at Saturday’s Salinas Valley Half Marathon and 5K. The races started at the same time but had different starting points and they both finished at Pessagno Winery on River Road. A warm sun welcomed the more than 1,000 runners after a week of foggy mornings.

“The race was so much fun,” said third-place overall finisher and winner of the 25-29 age group, Amy Johnston. “I enjoyed being out there, and am very fortunate to have the support of such a wonderful running community. It was a little warm out, but it is such a beautiful and challenging course.”

In the half marathon, Diego Leon of Hollister was the overall winner men’s, running the course that started at Soledad Mission in 1:11.24. Finishing behind Leon were Jorge Sanchez of Salinas in 1:13.39, and Andrew Martinez of Soledad with a time of 1:14.28.

“I have been training all summer and ran with some of my old teammates from Hartnell at this race and at the Wharf to Wharf in Santa Cruz,” said Martinez, who attends the University of St. Francis at Joliet, Illinois. “Last time I ran this race was like three years ago and I this time I was able to run by best time ever and place in the top three.”

This year at St. Francis, Martinez will compete in cross country and in indoor track. As he has two years left to compete, Martinez plans to compete in indoor and outdoor track in his final year of college.

In the women’s division, Jen Bayliss blitzed the field with a time of 1:26.17 and Lan Clayton of Salinas was second overall in a time of 1:28.15. Amy Johnston of Salinas placed third overall.

Damian Lopez of Soledad won the 12-15 age division, running the course in 1:59.50 and Christine Villasenor won the 40-44 women’s division in a personal best of 1:47.16.

“I placed second in my division the last time I ran this race in 2012,” said Villasenor. “I like running in cool weather and this race was warm right from the beginning. The hills made me work, especially halfway through the race. I do a lot of long training runs of 10 to 12 miles so I was ready for this distance.”

Luis Perez of Greenfield placed second in the 16-20 men’s division in a time of 1:16.00.

Melissa Swenson of Soledad was second in the 40-44 women’s division behind Villasenor.

Former King City resident Jesus Campos won the 30-34 men’s division in a time of 1:16.08. Campos is now a teacher in the Fresno area. In the inaugural 5K run, Andrew Alonzo of Salinas won the 3.1 mile race in 17:58 followed by Jose Agustin Morales of King City, who ran the race in 18:21. Maritza Ruelas of Gonzales won the women’s division in a time of 22:05, and Nayelie Cuevas of Gonzales was second, finishing the race in 25:09.

Hartnell College was well represented on Saturday with the following runners competing in the half marathon: Diego Leon, Jorge Sanchez, Andrew Martinez, Jesus Campos, Justin Carrancho, Williams Ordaz, Tito Chaidez-Martinez, Amy Johnston, Beatriz Duarte, Alyssa Sanchez, Yvette Nicole Felix and Beatrice Sanchez.

“A former Panther has won the men’s half marathon every year except 2010 when Diego Estrada won and 2016 when the event was cancelled,” said Hartnell head cross country and track coach Chris Zepeda. “Maritza Ruelas is also a former Panther as is Jose Morales, who took second in the 5K.”



MEN — 12-15 1 Damian Lopez (Soledad) 1:59.56; 2 Alexis Tapia (Salinas) 2:04.55; 3 Hallier Corres-Flores (Seaside) 2:04.55; 16-20 1 Andrew Martinez (Soledad) 1:14.26; 2 Nicholas Merillana (Royal Oaks) 1:15.54; 3 Luis Perez (Greenfield) 1:16.00; 21-24 1 Diego Leon (Hollister) 1:11.26; 2 Jorge Sanchez (Salinas) 3 Justin Carrancho (Watsonville) 1:18.33; 25-29 1 Pepe Gonzalez (Paso Robles) 1:27.32; 2 Greg Braggin (Sunnyvale) 1:29.25; 3 Ryan Goldsmith (Pacific Grove) 1:32.30; 30-34 1 Jesus Campos (Fresno) 1:16.08; 2 Robert Mead (Templeton) 1:16.39; 3 John Shipley (No city) 1:29.29; 35-39 1 Juan Rivera (Salinas) 1:17.35; 2 Rudy Tovar (Salinas) 1:23.43; 3. Ryan Terry (Lockeford) 1:28.08; 40-44 1 Salvador Cisneros (Octolan) 1:15.33; 2 Alejandro Morales (Santa Cruz) 1:34.41; 3 Joel Fenlason (Santa Maria) 1:34.43; 45-49 1 Sergio Coronel (Salinas) 1:31.18; 2 Scott Moore (Pacific Grove) 1:33.11; 3 Estaban Ortega (No city) 1:40.52; 50-54 1 Rob Boyce (Monterey) 1:26.26; 2 Sean Curry (Salinas) 1:28.49; 3 Sean McCormick (Paso Robles) 1:32.47; 55-59 1 Alberto Fraide (Salinas) 1:35.24; 2 Thomas Lockhart (Salinas) 1:41.15; 3 David Vidmar (Dixon) 1:41.39; 60-64 1 Patrick Moss (Fresno) 1:30.53; 2 Gerald Thomas (Salinas) 1:36.37; 3 Andrey Bogatrev (Moscow) 1:44.31; 65-69 1 Bobby McKee (La Selva Beach) 1:40.23; 2 Skip Latham (Salinas) 1:58.48; 3 John Volkman (Fresno) 2:05.02; 70-74 1 Michael Dove (Salinas) 1:55.39; 2 Tom Thayer (Salinas) 2:09.55; 3 Tom Rolander (Pacific Grove) 2:12.27; 75-98 1 Joseph Jasik (Newhall) 3:04.47.

WOMEN — 12-15 1 Elena Pletcher (San Rafael) 1:56.44; 16-20 1 Monica Ruelas (Hollister) 1:36.30; 2 Isabelle Torres (Clovis) 1:43.19; 3. Angie Jauregui (Oxnard) 2:27.32; 21-24 1 Beatriz Duarte (Watsonville) 1:32.54; 2 Alyssa Sanchez (Soledad) 1:41.18; 3 Nicole Felix (San Juan Bautista) 1:42.38; 25-29 1 Amy Johnston (Salinas) 1:29.59; 2 Karina Sterrett (Destin) 1:32.58; 3 Leslie Zabala (Carmel Valley) 1:41.27; 30-34 1 Kassandra Spitler (Monterey) 1:30.46; 2 Erin Demchko (Monterey) 1:33.57; 3 Jen Keliher (Seaside) 1:40.14; 35-39 1 Marisol Alvarez (No city) 1:42.52; 2 Julie Basso (San Jose) 1:43.34; 3 Dan Stenvick (San Gabriel) 1:48.54; 40-44 1 Christine Villasenor (Soledad) 1:47.16; 2 Melissa Swenson (Soledad) 1:47.16; 3 Stephanie Trostt (Salinas) 1:55.35; 45-49 1 Jen Bayliss (San Ramon) 1:26.17; 2 Aya Van Wagner (Los Gatos) 1:38.46; 3 Monika Scott (Salinas) 1:42.00; 50-54 1 Lan Clayton (Salinas) 1:28.15; 2 Stephanie Bouquet (Salinas) 1:41.24; 3 Kate Rider (Carmel Valley) 1:43.26; 55-59 1 Kelly Dame (San Rafael) 1:42.58; 2 Linda Sereno (Salinas) 1:44.07; 3 Debbie Sims (Salinas) 1:52.17; 60-64 1 Denise Posson (Pebble Beach) 2:11.14; 2 Eva Espinoza (Watsonville) 2:16.04; 3 Dorothy Paxman (Simi Valley) 2:17.02; 65-69 1 Barbara Lee (Monterey) 2:06.00; 2 Area Parke (Modesto) 2:39.54; 3 Sheri Cline (Salinas) 3:01.11; 70-74 1 Carol Turner (Newark) 2:50.10; 2 Mary Adams (Pebble Beach) 3:39.27; 3 Jane Williams (Carmel Valley) 3:39.27; 75-98 1 Phyllis Karsten (Los Gatos) 3:32.57.

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