Several local runners excelled in the Pacific Coast League Cross Country Championships at Toro Park in Salinas on Oct. 30.
Gilroy High senior Karina Rodriguez continued her outstanding season by running to victory in the Gabilan Division race, crossing the tape in a personal-record (PR) of 19 minutes, 27 seconds at the 3.0-mile course.
The victory meant Rodriguez won all three PCAL Center Gabilan/Mission Division Center Meets and the league finals, a testament to her consistency and dominance. Rodriguez previously finished 12th as a freshman and eighth as a sophomore in the league championships (there were no league finals last year).
Teammate Vianey Garcia took third in a season-best time of 20:27 at Toro for a solid top-three finish. Garcia has been remarkably consistent, clocking times within 57 seconds of each other over seven races spread out over a couple of different distances.
Gilroy High also had standout performances from the boys team, as senior Nicholas Guzman took second in 16:17. In seven races this season, Guzman has finished either first or second, including sweeping all three PCAL Center Meets.
If Guzman is rested and tapered for the Central Coast Section Championships at Crystal Springs in Belmont on Nov. 13, he’ll be in contention for another CIF State berth. Like Rodriguez—who is gunning for her first state berth—Guzman has put together a fabulous season that has been extra meaningful considering he’s often ran alongside his younger brother Joshua, a freshman who placed 11th in 17:27.
Joshua finished second to Nicholas in two of the three Center Meets this season and is posting faster times compared to Nicholas’ freshman season numbers.
In the Santa Lucia Division race, Christopher High junior Martin Picazo shaved a whopping 39 seconds off his PR to finish in fifth place in 18:05. The junior is one of the most improved runners in all of the CCS, having improved his times by an average of five minutes since his freshman year.
Fellow teammate and junior Max Hernandez finished 10th in 19:24 as the CHS boys placed second in the team standings behind Gonzales. The CHS girls competed in the Cypress Division race and were led by junior Sarah Arcelo, who took third in 20:45. Arcelo has been the stalwart of the CHS girls team since her freshman year.
She’s currently in the midst of her best season ever as she has a first, second and fourth-place finish in three Cypress/Santa Lucia Center meets this season. Gilroy qualified both its boys and girls teams to the CCS Championships, while Arcelo and Picazo qualified as individuals.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]