Niles Steps Up at State For Panthers

Niles Steps Up at State For Panthers

A streak of three consecutive top 5 team finishes at the CCCAA Championship was broken with an 11th place finish but was highlighted by the oustanding performance by sophomore Jacob Niles in his final race for the Panthers. Niles, who had placed consistently in the top five every meet, would lead the Panthers with his 54th overall placing and eleventh among Northern California finishers. The mark moves Niles on to the Hartnell College all-time list for Woodward Park. Sophomore Nick Merillana was 63rd and made up for his freshman season with his one opportunity to represent the Panthers at the state championship in 21:43. Freshman Jesus Avalos, in 85th place, will be called upon to lead next year's squad with his 22:00. Sophomore Luis Perez ran his second race after an injury that sidelined him for the Coast Conference meet. Perez placed 93rd, a three spot improvement from 2017, in 22:06. Sophomore Alfredo Mejia, Jr. lowered his Woodward Park time to 22:17 and placed 106th to complete the scoring. Andres Rodriguez (22:43) and Victor Nambo (22:44) competed in their first state champoinship.

The 2018 season was a rollercoaster for the Panther men but did include an impressive ninth consecutive Coast Conference title and fifth consecutive individual champion. The Panthers also enjoyed their ninth consecutive top three regional trophy placing second at this year's championship. Sophomore Patrick Olson was the conference champion and repeated his All-Northern California honors by improving from eighth in 2017 to fifth in 2018. Sophomore Alfredo Mejia, Jr. picked up his first all-region honor placing sixth overall after being an alternate at the regional championship in 2017. With next year's returners Jesus Avalos, Luis Meza, Luis Mendoza, Arturo Ponce, James Young, Arturo Chavez, Leonardo Coronel, and Juan Gutierrez III, the Panthers will look to return to the top five in the state.