Sequoias’ Alyssa Block contender for cross country title, Mt. SAC, Hartnell seek gold in both races at state meet in Fresno on Saturday

Sequoias’ Alyssa Block contender for cross country title, Mt. SAC, Hartnell seek gold in both races at state meet in Fresno on Saturday

FRESNO, Calif. - She was runner-up at the California Community College Cross Country Championships in 2016 and an All-American. Now, College of the Sequoias’ Alyssa Block is ready for gold. She repeated as Northern California champion on Nov. 3 in Salinas by dominating individuals with a time of 17:27.6.

In so doing, Block led the Lady Giants to the NorCal title by edging, and upsetting, a determined group of Hartnell Lady Panthers, four freshmen and one sophomore, 35-41. She was followed by teammates Jewel Jasso, 3rd (19:20.9), Antonia Lozano, 5th (19:32.1), Elizabeth Sartuche, 9th (19:47.3) and Lidia Briseno, 17th (20:06.0).

So, it would seem COS and Hartnell could feel confident and comfortable at the 41st CCCAA State Women’s Cross Country Championship at Fresno’s Woodward Park on Saturday, Nov. 18. The women’s 3.1 mile race starts at 10 a.m. The men’s 54th CCCAA Championship, a 4-mile distance, begins at 11 a.m. The top 14 individuals in both races receive All-America recognition.

On Nov. 3 at Santa Clarita in Southern California, Mt. San Antonio’s women’s team, which finished third at the 2016 CCCAA championships, was also serving notice that it’s back. Mt. SAC defeated Ventura 77-94 by bunching five runners between No. 8 and 24. The Mounties were led by freshman Olivia Valderrama, 8th (19:31) and sophomore Teresa Castillo, 9th (19:37.7).

The SoCal individual champ, and new kid on the block, was freshman Brenda Rosales (18:39.6) of Los Angeles Harbor which finished third at 109 in team standings. Rosales helped Harbor tie Mt. SAC for the South Coast Conference title a week earlier.

The NorCal men’s race went to the Hartnell men again in the same 1-2-3 team finish as 2016. Hartnell’s 44 was followed by Las Positas’ 78 and American River’s 94. Panthers freshman Ricky Esqueda (20:14.6) led his teammates on their home course by claiming the individual title over runner-up Christian Woolfolk (20:34.5) of ARC and LPC’s 2016 All-American, David Frisbie (20:41.4). Frisbie was sixth at the CCCAA championships.

Esqueda’s winning teammates were: sophomore Sergio Coronel, 5th, (20:46.0); freshman Patrick Olson, 8th (20:54.5); Christian Aldape, 11th (20:57.9) and Jaime Garcia, 19th (21:24.7) both lettermen. The Panthers finished fifth in the state in 2015 and 2016 and are seeking their first CCCAA title.

In the SoCal men’s championships, Mt. San Antonio defeated defending state champ Riverside handily, 34-80. Los Angeles Harbor, like its women’s team, was third at 128.

Not only are the Mt. SAC men back, the Mounties returning All-American Trelani Waters, 13th in 2016 state championships, was the fifth man in their SoCal team scoring finishing 14th (21:25.7). Fellow sophomores Manuel Fernandez (20:26.9) and Anthony Alfaro (20:37.7) finished 1-2 in Santa Clarita.

Luis Huerta, 6th (21:22.3) and Jose Melchor, 11th (21:25.0) are freshmen. All five Mt, SAC runners received individual All-Regional honors.

In all, 42 teams qualified for the state championships, plus 60 individuals. This adds up to approximately 350 runners representing over 50 California community colleges.

About one inch of rain is forecast for Thursday in Fresno, but the storm is expected to pass through. Rain should help overall conditions on the Woodward Park course to be firm. Race time temperatures are expected in the low to mid-60s.

(For the CCCAA/CCCSIA cross country release by Woody Wilk)