Lady Panthers Win Fifth Straight Conference Title

Lady Panthers Win Fifth Straight Conference Title

The Hartnell College women's cross country team not only won their fifth consecutive Coast Conference team title at Toro Park Friday but also recorded a rare perfect score of 15 points in the victory. The Lady Panthers equalled the feat of placing the first five finishers in the race that was last recorded at the 2015 conference championship by the eventual state runner-up team. This year's women's team was at one time ranked first in the state and currently sit second overall heading into next week's regional championships. In addition to winning a fifth consecutive team title, the overall winner freshman Arlene Diaz Leal became the fifth consecutive Hartnell College winner following Martiza Ruelas (2013), Malena Grover (2014 and 2015) and Yvette Felix (2016).

Freshman Arlene Diaz Lead toed her teammates through the two mile mark before gaining a slight advantage she held to the finish line. Following her were five that all managed to finish just 32 seconds behind Diaz Leal at the completion of three miles. The perfect score of 15 points started with Diaz Leal at 20:09 followed by freshman Maria Aceves (20:17), Olivia Jimenez (20:29), Jocelyn Cervantes (20:35), Leslie Oseguera (20:39) and Lauryn Orozco (20:42). This was a return to action for Oseguera who raced for the first time since Septmember 21st. In addition to having the first six runners to cross the line, the Lady Panthers would have five additional runners earn all-conference honors for placing in the top 14 overall. Monica Ruelas (21:07) finished eighth, Elizabeth Hernandez (21:51) tenth, Nina Arias (22:06) thirteenth, and sophomore Tanya Campos in fourtheenth.

The Lady Panthers will head into next Friday's Northern California Championship at Toro Park as the top ranked team in the region. Back on October 6, the Lady Panthers escaped with a four point win over the 2016 regional champion College of the Sequoias. The Lady Panthers last won a Northern California regional title in 2015 at Toro Park as well. Last fall, the women's team placed third behind eventual state runner-up College of the Sequioas and conference foe DeAnza College. The women's championship 3 mile race will be at 2:00pm.