Women Dominate Norcal Preview at Home

Panther women dominate the regional preview with all seven runners in the top 14 overall.
Panther women dominate the regional preview with all seven runners in the top 14 overall.

Toro Park will be the site of this year's Northern California Championship for the fourth time in the last 15 years. In those years, the women have placed second in 2005, first in 2015, and second in 2017. If the pattern repeats itself the Panthers are heading to their ninth reginal championship since 1984 and close the gap to becoming the most successful regional team in women's history. American River College leads eighteen top three team finishes. With a regional championship in 2019, the Hartnell College women would inch closer to the top spot with sixteen top 3 team finishes. They already hold the top spot for most team titles currently by one over American River College. 

The Panthers provided some early suspense to the race sending sophomore Shantal Martinez out into the lead and alongside last year's regional champoin Julia Gonzalez of Diablo Valley. The former Notre Dame Spirit would hold on to Gonzales for nearly 2 miles. Behind her it was nearly all Hartnell. Daniela Salazar, Isabelle Torres, Nerina Campos, and Valeria Gomez-Lozano all ran in the topp six spots with Mariah Changco inside the top 10. With the leader from DVC being on a non-scoring team, that meant the Panthers were running with a perfect team score of 15 points at halfway through the race. The order would remain mostly the same for the second half through the camel hump hills and over the final meadow loop to the finish line. Salazar would place second, potentially up one spot from 2018, in 19:05 with Torres one stride behind in 19:06. Martinez ran strongly despite the fast start for her in 19:10. Gomez-Lozano cut gap to Martinenz nearly in half over the final loop to cross in 19:16 and have the first four women finish in 11 seconds. Campos would lose her advantage through the hills and see Changco maintain her top 10 finish in eighth. Changco would stop the clock at 19:41 just one second from seventh and four seconds from sixth place. Campos finished amongst a mix of women from other teams in twelft at 19:47 with freshman newcome Joanna Macias completing the top seven in thirteenth and 19:49. All told, the first seven women had run faster than they ever had over the trails at Toro Park. The team tallied 17 points which might be the lowest in the regional preview meet history. Last November, the Hartnell women became the all-time leader with a score of just 19 points to win the 2018 team title. This year's squad could become the first to score just 15 points, a record that may not duplicable for a long time. 

With the regional preview completed, the Panthers will trave to Southern California for the Brubaker Invitational at Irvine Regional Park on Friday, October 11th.