Salinas Valley runners (from left) Moises Benito, Josh Riley, Mario Avila and Carlos Espinoza gather for a photo at the CCS Track and Field Trials on June 12. (Dominic Conricode/Contributed)

SALINAS VALLEY — Runners from all over Salinas Valley were able to compete at the Central Coast Section (CCS) Track and Field Trials on June 12.

Moises Benito from Palma High School pumped out respectable times of 4:39 for the 1600 meters and 9:58 for the 3200 meters. From King City High, Josh Riley ran a 1600 of 4:42, while teammate Mario Avila had a time of 4:48. Right behind them was Carlos Espinoza from Soledad High with 4:49 for the 1600 meters.

“While none of us had a PR (personal record) in our events, and were unable to place to move onto CCS finals, we were all thankful to be running at CCS while also being among friends we got to make thanks to the sport,” Riley said. “The fact we even got a CCS was shocking, and then to successfully qualify was amazing, so just to run up at Soquel with the top runners was an honor for all of us.”

The King City runners and Espinoza will continue their running as Panthers at Hartnell College this fall, while Benito will get one more shot to shatter all his current records as he leads his fellow Palma runners into victory during his coming senior year.

“This season of Covid was a weird one, but despite the pandemic, we got to run,” Riley said. “Some of us even got to set some personal records.”

Riley gave a special shoutout to Gabriella Perez, another King City Mustang who helped represent South Monterey County at the trials. Though Perez was unable to place or have a PR, she still ran a respectable time of 27.9 seconds for the 200 meters. 

“She too managed to have fun with friends/rivals while at the meet, and enjoyed the successes that she did get to reap during the season,” Riley said.

He added, “Covid did do a lot to make the season anything but cool; however, some managed to rise above it, run at top levels, have fun with others and even PR. … The Covid season of track has passed, and with it, an unforgettable experience.”

Josh Riley contributed to this article.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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