The expectations were high for the Hartnell College women's team heading into this year's CCCAA State Cross Country Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno. After placing just 20 points behind top ranked Glendale College at the Fresno Invitational on September 7, the Panthers ran the table for the rest of the season placing first in every meet and never scoring more than 29 points. The women scored just 17 points to win the Norcal Preview Meet at Toro Park and repeat as Coast Conference champions. The women posted the second lowest team total at the Northern California Championship in repeating their team title from last year. They placed four runners inside the top five and all within 42 seconds. Despite the end of season success, a rash of late season injuries began to deplete key scoring spots as all-region runner Isabelle Torres was unable to compete at both the Coast Conference and Northern California Championship. Seventh runner at both races Joanna Macias also succumbed to a late season injury putting Torres back in the line up for the state championship. Despite having soundly defeating Socal counterparts Saddleback College and Mt. SAC, the Panthers were relegated to a fourth place team finish just 3 points from a top 3 trophy. In consolation, this was the fourth time in the last six years the Panther women have placed fourth or higher in the state championship their presence not just expected but the norm.
Sophomore Daniela Salazar entered the meet riding a solid wave of improvement. She moved up one spot at the Coast Connference Championship to become the overall winner and was just three seconds back of the Northern California champion in moving up to runner-up this year. As a freshman Salazar was seventh at the state championship and looking to move up there as well. After placing herself amongst the leaders at the mile, Salazar moved to lead and took a pack of four other sophomores through two miles. She would hold on to the pack to place fifth overall in 18:46. Sophia Cortina of Moorpark College moved up third last year to overall champion in 18:28. Salazar repeats her All-American honors joining just Kathy Lenno (1998-1999) and Malena Grover (2014-2015) to earn the honor both seasons. She will also hold the third best Woodward Park 5km mark at 18:36 from her freshman year championship. Freshman Valeria Gomez-Lozano did was she had made habit all year in chasing Salazar the whole race. That consistency paid off with her best performance of the fall. The North Salinas High School grade placed ninth in her first state championship and became the sixth best all-time performer with her 18:54. Only Malena Grover has run faster as a freshman but did not place as high. Gomez-Lozano will have an opportunity to join Salazar a rare repeat top 5 regional finisher after placing fourth along with two top 10 finishes at the state championship. Sophomore Shantal Martinez had not competed in a state championship since her senior year at Notre Dame High School. Martinez would use her second oppportunity to place 20th overall in 19:26 to make her the sixteenth best performer in program history. The top 21 finish also designates Martinez as All-State. Freshman Faith Mora patiently trained and raced back from injury to place 53rd a freshman and produce a top 50 all-time performance at Woodward Park with her 20:15. Freshman Mariah Changco ran 20:44 but was unable to duplicate her 20:19 from the Fresno Invitational. Also unable to improve were Nerina Campos (21:04) who had posted 20:22 back in September and 20:07 at last year's state championship. Isabelle Torres was able to complete the race despite her ankle injury in 21:44 but far from the 19:38 she produced back in September.
The Hartnell women conclude the season ranked fourth in the state, top ranked in Northern California, two CCCAA All-Americans, four All-region runners, and seven all-conference runners. With Valeria Gomez-Lozano, Faith Mora, Mariah Changco, Joanna Macias, and Alondra Carreon returning in 2020, the women's team has the ingredients for another run at a top 3 finish.