Third Victory for Ruelas at Pat Ryan

Start of the women's 5k run at the Pat Ryan Invitational
Start of the women's 5k run at the Pat Ryan Invitational

 

The Hartnell College teams headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and up to wine country for their first ever visit to the Pat Ryan Invitational at beautiful Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. The unique course runs the entire perimeter of the lake before returning to the finish line. Both squads were victorious with the women recording their second lowest team score with 17 points and the men their lowest of the season at 28 points.

In the women's race, the Lady Panthers nearly missed the race due to a van breaking down and Saturday Bay Area traffic and construction but managed to still place five women in the top 7 overall and the entire top 7 in the top 10 overall. Sophomore Monica Ruelas found the loop course inviting for a fast time and recorded her second best time of the season in 18:31 for the 5km layout. It was her third consecutive victory and by 30 seconds over teammate freshman Daniela Salazar (19:01). Arlene Diaz Leal was fourth (19:24) and freshman Isabelle Torres sixth (19:54). Sophomore Nina Arias (19:56) continues to improve in seventh, Maria Aceves (20:21) and freshman Nerina Campos (20:47) in tenth. The Lady Panthers were without all-region Lauryn Orozco for the first time this season who is nursing a calf injury from the Norcal Preview Meet. Her return is hopeful for either the Norcal Championship or CCCAA State Championship.
 
In order to beat state ranked #5 American River College for a third consecutive Northern California title, the Panther men need to have four runners run very close together at the front of the regional championship. Sophomore Nick Merillana lead the team early the season with a second place overall finish at the Tour de Cuesta but struggled mid-season. He seems to have regained his form as he placed third overall in 20:43, a lifetime best for 4 miles. He was followed by Patrick Olson in fourth at 20:50, his second consecutive sub 21:00 clocking. Luis Perez was seventh in 21:07, as most of his season times have been very close to 21:00 this season. Alfredo Mejia, Jr (21:16) and Jacob Niles (21:17) were ninth and tenth respectively. Sophomore Andres Rodriguez enjoyed his best outing as a Panther ever in fourteenth (21:37). The Panther men outdistanced new program Clovis Community College 28 to 68.

The Panthers will compete next at the 2018 Coast Conference Championship to be held on Friday, October 26 at Crystal Springs in Belmont, CA.