The Harrtnell College women are finding it difficult to create racing challenges this season. After easily winning the Beat the Heat meet, the nearly winning their third Fresno Invitational, the Panther women have rattled off two easy team wins in their home region. This time it was at Tuolumne River Regional Park in Modesto. Competing at the Modesto JC Pirate Invitational for the first time, the women put four in the top five and six in the top 17 to tally 22 points. The Panther women are ranked #1 in Northern California and #2 statewide heading into the Toro Park Invitational which will also serve as the regional preview meet.
Julia Gonzalez of Diablo Valley College was the 2018 Northern Califronia champion but ran into a tough duo last year at the state meet in Hartnell's Monica Ruelas and Daniela Salazar as both finished in front of her in the final race of the seaons. Ruelas is gone and now Salazar is in a season long battle with Gonzalez for regional bragging rights. Gonzalez finished just 2 seconds ahead of Salazar at the Fresno Invitational in early September but just one week later Salazar caught Gonzalez over the final 300 meters at the Chabot Invtiational. In Modesto, Gonzalez wasted no time testing Salazar from the gun on the mostly flat course and had a sizeable advantage heading into the final half mile. She woudl win in 18:42, one of the fastest times in the last few years. She would turn around and see a pack of Panther women that had managed to run nearly the entire course together. Isabelle Torres would take second in a lifetime cross country best of 19:15. Right behind her was freshman phenom Valeria Gomez-Lozano in 19:16. Salazar and Shantal Martinez were fourth and fifth in 19;22 and 19;24. The team was without top 7 runner Nerina Campos who sat this one out due to an illness that hit on Wednesday before the race. Freshman Faith Mora showed improvement placing 16th in 20:49 followed by fellow frosh Mariah Changco in 20:57. Freshman Alondra Carreron was the seventh woman in 21:20.
The women will race at 3:30pm on Friday, October 4th at Toro Park.