The Panther men went south in search of some of the top Socal teams and found three at the Coyote Challenge on the campus of the CSU San Bernadino. They faced off with host San Bernadino Valley College, Fresno Invitational second place Glendale College, Socal Preview Champion San Diego Mesa, and upstart San Diego City College. Regional foe and Norcal #2 College of the Sequoias also ventured to the Inland Empire for a rematch from two weeks ago in Fresno.
Even with a non-finisher in our top 3 men they were able to leapfrog over Norcal #2 College of the Sequoias. Sophomore Alfredo Mejia, Jr. (Salinas HS) had a coming out party of sorts touring the energy-sapping course in a lifetime best 20:59 for 4 miles to place 7th overall. He nearly caught one of the top regional individuals coming up just 5 seconds short. Alfredo showed he had the potential two weeks ago to run with the best bettering a top 14 finisher. Sophomore Luis Perez (Greenfield HS) remains our most consistent performer placing 10th overall in 21:04 just 11 seconds from a top 4 finish. Jacob Niles (Aptos HS) continues to improve bettering his 4 mile time to 21:44. Victor Nambo (North Salinas HS) shows what helped his HS team to a Salinas City title by running his best team race with a 26th place finish (21:46). Patrick Olson (Aptos HS) continued to challenge himself to return to form and lowered his season best to 22:08. Props to our unsung back grinders Andres Rodriguez (22:56) and James Young (23:08) who made steady progress filling in as the sixth and seventh runners. Sophomore Nick Merillana was running within the top 10 with 800 meters to go before succumbing to a late race injury. He is expected to be healthy and ready to compete September 28th at Toro Park.