Panthers Fifth at State Championship

Panthers Fifth at State Championship

The expectations were high for the Hartnell College men's cross country team heading into the CCCAA Championship at Woodward Park. The Panthers were coming off a decisive Northern California Championship and had placed no lower than second overall as a team all season. Formidable teams including Southern California team champion San Bernadino Valley College, Riverside College, and Mt. SAC stood in the way of a first ever team trophy for the Panthers. When the dust settled, Hartnell College repeated its fifth place team finish but with less points than in 2015 and recorded two individual All-Americans both in the top 10 for the first time in school history.

Sophomores Edgar Bonilla and Jorge Sanchez ran amongst the lead pack the entire race but missed a decisive move by Sean McDermott, highest placing returner from 2015, from Cuesta College and Luis Ortega, the Southern California Champion, of San Bernadino Valley College. Both gave chase over the final two miles with Bonilla holding on to 5th place overall (20:32), an improvement over his ninth place in 2015. Sanchez ran as high up as sixth place until the final 400 meters before landing in ninth overall (20:34). Mario Perez, Jr. enjoyed his best cross country race of his Hartnell career placing 21st (20:59). Andrew Martinez (21:23) and Williams Ordaz (21:34) completed the team scoring. Oscar Mora, Jr. (21:57) and Angel Mejia, Jr. (22:14) competed as well. The team's repeat fifth place finish is the first time in school history of consecutive top five finishes. Bonilla and Sanchez were named CCCAA All-Americans.