Frosh Gensel Steps Up On Familiar Ground

Start of the men's 4 mile race at Toro Park for the Norcal Preview Meet
Start of the men's 4 mile race at Toro Park for the Norcal Preview Meet

Freshman Isaac Gensel has a very good positive association with the trails and roads of Toro Park. Last fall, as a senior at Monterey High School, Gensel tactically reeled in current Hartnell teammate Rigo Garcia for the CIF Central Coast section individual title. That propelled Gensel to his first ever state cross country championship and was the lone representative for the Toreadores. Having already proven he remembers how to race well over the trails over Woodward Park, he placed 25th at the state preview on September 7, the Norcal Preview Meet would give Gensel a chance to show what he remembered from last fall's championship. Buried in the pack in the top 20 at 1.5 miles, Gensel replayed the same strategy from his CCS race and moved up steadily over the final 2.5 miles to find himself next to team leader Jesus Avalos with 400 meters to the finish. The mature frosh would cross first out of the pair in eleventh place overall and 21:05 and just less than 3 seconds from crashing the top 10 in his first attempt. Avalos would place thirteenth in 21:11, one year after debuting for the season at the regional preview. 

Back in the pack, Rigo Garcia ran a strong race to place 21st (21:21) but it would be 30 seconds before Frankie Maciel (21:51) would cross in 36th. Freshman Joseph Loredo would conclude the top 5 team score with his best race of the season in 21:55 followed by Luis Meza (22:01) and Elliot Ruiz (22:03). The Panthers placed fifth as a team just 10 seconds from third and 26 points out of second. The Panthers have not placed inside the top 3 in the region since 2009 but will have some work cut out for them in the next month to prepare to host the 2019 Northern California Championship.