Ruelas Runs to Fast 5k at Occidental

Hartnell female runner in lane one
Sophomore Monica Ruelas posts top regional 5k mark at Occidental College

A small band of distance runners traveled five hours south to Eagle Rock for the Occidental College Spring Break Classic in hopes of becoming the first runners from Northern Californnia to achieve state qualifying marks. Several personal bests were achieved but the trip was highlighted by the performance of sophomore Monica Ruelas in her first 5000 meters of this season.

Running in the third heat of the 5000m, Monica ran aggressively amongst the top give women through splits of 5:46 for the 1600 and 10:51 at 3000 meters. Ruelas would lose a few spots over the final kilometer but rallied the final 200 meters to stop the clock at 18:09.99. The mark is a remarkable 64 seconds faster than her 5000 meter time from her freshman year. She moves to sixth all-time just ahead of current assistant coach Amy Johnston. Ruelas takes over the top spot in Northern California by nearly 40 seconds and is currently ranked fourth in the entire state. She will have a couple of more attempts to become Hartnell College's second ever sub 18:00 performer in the event. The future University of Alaska Anchorage runner is currently ranked #1 in Northern California in the 1500 meters, #2 in the 800 meters, #1 in the 3000 meters, and #1 in the 10,000 meters. Sophomore Lauryn Orozco went out in her heat chasing the state automatic qualfying mark of 18:49 but found she still lacks some of the training to finish the race. She was able to complete the race in 19:05.38 to dip under the State "B" mark and become the fourth best performer at the distance in the North. Marica Aceves ran a personal best of 19:33.04. Freshman Isabelle Torres wasn't quite recovered from her early week illness and ran 19:42.50. Running in a separate heat, Nina Arias improved her 5000 meter time by nearly two minutes since last season with a time of 19:45.05. Nerina Campos qualified to the regional meet with her 20:32.63 debut at the distance.

A select few of the distance squad will travel with the team to the CSU Sacramento Hornet Invitational March 14-15.