Sophomore Diego Leon put his name on a short list of contenders for the state individual title with his win a few weeks back at the Fresno Invitational. Along the way, Leon will try and become Hartnell's first regional champion since Daniel Tapia accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009. With his win Friday at the College of San Mateo Crystal Springs Invitational, Leon showed he is continuing to make progress toward becoming Hartnell College's second individual state champion. Crystal Springs will play host to both the Coast Conference and Northern California Championship. His time of 21:00 for the 4.195 mile course is the fourth best in school history and 27 seconds faster than Daniel Tapia ran during his championship season. Leon, the 2012 CCS Division 5 cross country champion, was fourth last year at the Northern California Championship but is the fastest returner this fall. Sophomore Justin Carrancho took third in 21:41. Carrancho is enjoying the best cross country season of his life and placed third for the second consecutive week against regional competition. Freshman Rene Siqueiros also placed in the top 20 at eighteenth with a time of 22:20. Luis Vargas (22:42), Javier Garcia (22:55), Andrews Gutierrez (23:01), and Jesus Vazquez (23:10) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers who placed second to state ranked #3 American River College.
The Lady Panthers have held the top ranking in Northern California since the first week of the season and scored just 44 points to 80 points for second place American River College to win team title Friday. Sophomore Brandi Hobson and freshman Malena Grover as giving the Lady Panthers are powerful 1-2 punch as they have placed next to each other in three consecutive meets. Hobson covered the historic Crystal Springs 2.95 mile course in 19:03 to place fourth with Grover at 19:10 in fifth. Hobson's time in the tenth best and Grover eleventh best in school history. Also running well were Rachel Shimabukuro in eighth (19:45) and Maritza Ruelas (20:04) in fourteenth. Rounding out the placing seven were Maria Rodriguez (20:20), Lizette Garcia (20:25), and Nancy Rodriguez (20:32). All seven Lady Panthers placed in the top 25.