By Jeff Rawlinson
Express staff writer
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Winters High School cross country team traveled to Magalia, Calif., for the Mountain Valley League meet hosted by Paradise High School. At just over 2,300 feet, the meet was held at the Mahalia disc golf course. After a shortened season limited by heat air quality injury and illness, the Warriors started their first full season in 18 months.
“Ten schools competed at the first league meet in Magalia, the league is down in numbers with the exception of Colusa,” said Coach William Davis.
Davis said there were 85 runners in all, combining both men’s and women’s athletes from the junior varsity and varsity teams.
Colusa and Winters were the only two teams to field a complete team. The Warriors returned home with their first race completed and second place for the meet.
Out of the four sections of the Winters cross country team, the men’s Varsity team was the only one who had enough runners to compete for a team score. The team is made up of Diego Rodriguez, Wesley Coker, A.J. Pignataro, Nathan Vigil and Jack Bryant.
A performance standing out and drastically improving their times was Rodriguez with 21:59 and Vigil with 24:32. Ruby Campos finished third in the girls two-mile junior varsity race. Yarethzy Sanchez running the three-mile varsity race in sixth.
The Winters cross country team hosted the first Mountain Valley league meet since the team was formed two years ago, on Sept. 22. The MVL is made up of all the small schools in the southern part of the Sacramento Valley.
Hosting 86 runners on Wednesday, the event was a success — the visiting teams’ coaches gave the course high marks.
The course started across the Winters trestle bridge. The athletes ran along Putah Creek out to the freeway and then back. At the last tenth of a mile of the course, there was an incline. Runners then finish in line behind the Winters Community Center.
“This was one of the most challenging courses we will run this year. It was run in the Putah Creek Nature Park with many hills and running dirt trails with some uneven footing, sometimes narrowed by vegetation,” said Davis.
The men’s varsity team was led by Christian Hernandez who placed seventh in the race with a time of 20:54. The Warriors who made improved times included Coker and women’s junior varsity team members Campos and Celeste Reyes.
Coker improved his time by 1 minute, 13 seconds from the previous week coming in at a time of 22:33. Vigil completed two consecutive races with times of a one-second difference.
Campos finished in 18:40 and Reyes followed in 21:59. Both athletes had improved times for the women’s junior varsity team as they both were three minutes faster than the previous week’s race.