UCSB Gaucho Invitational
(l-r) Michelle Reyes, Arielle Estrada, Nicole Gonzalez, Valerie Hernandez, Anahi Pascual, Vanessa Avila, Eva Vieyra, and Giselle Perez.
(l-r) Michelle Reyes, Arielle Estrada, Nicole Gonzalez, Valerie Hernandez, Anahi Pascual, Vanessa Avila, Eva Vieyra, and Giselle Perez.

On September 3, the Fillmore Harriers traveled to the University of Santa Barbara to compete in the UCSB Gaucho Invitational. A total of 15 teams toed the line in 4 different races featuring high school students plus a Community/Alumni race.

Several of the top teams in this year's CIF Southern Section CIF ranking competed at this years meet. Leading the list was Foothill Technology ranked number one in the boys division 4 and the Foothill Technology girls ranked number 2 in the same division. Mayfield girls of Pasadena also competed and are ranked 7th in Division 4.

The first race of the day featured novice athletes or athletes not ready to compete the full distance at this early date. Even though it is a shorter race, it is highly competitive as some school chose to run their full teams in these races. The Fillmore newcomers started the day off right by capturing 3 medals in the first race of the day on the girls short 1.41 mile course. Leading the charge was Vanessa Avila placing 5th and posting a time of 9:10.3, she was closely followed by Valerie Hernandez in 13th place in 10:01.3, Anahi Pascual in 14th running a 10:01.7. Other finishers were Nicole Gonzalez 24th in 10:28, Giselle Perez 30th in 10:48.2, Michelle Reyes 41st in 11:22.1, and Eva Vieyra 66th in 12:41.9. This was the best team finish of the day for the Flashes, a third place finish overall.

Fillmore had 3 boys, all newcomers compete in the second Short Course Race of the day. Leading the Flashes was Andrew Otineru 43rd in 9:53.02, followed by Samuel Kafka 60th in 10:41.31 and Pete Alvarado 65th in 11:20.14.

The first full race of the day 2.98 miles featured the top girl runners from 15 schools. Top runner for Fillmore for the second year in a row was Carissa Rodriguez who finished in 4th place in 19:02.36. She was followed by first year runner Diana Perez 36th in 21:06.33. Both Carissa and Diana were award winners. Next to finish was Jackie Chavez 53rd in 21;48.72, Lauren Magdaleno 60th in 22:11.19, and Emma Orozco 72nd in 22:36.99. This rounded out the top 5 Runners for Fillmore's team score and 7th place finish. Also competing were Cecilia Cisneros 83rd in 22:59.39, Maria Rubalcava 90th in 23:11.02, Allison Recancoj 98th in 23:42.70, Yakeline Magana 128th in 25:53.77 and Cynthia Hurtado 130th in 26:01.01.

The final race of the day saw a determined boys team compete against some of the top teams in California. Fillmore was led by Senior Johnny Martinez who finished in 21st place in 16:52.07. He was followed by Michael Sanchez 39th in 17:27.35, Jonathon Ordaz 44th in 17:30.14, Adrian Orozco 56th in 17:46.39, Everardo M. Garcia 57th in 17:52.71. Other finishers included: Sergio Perez 64th in 18:02.28, Juan Ramirez 79th in 18:38.99, Nick Villela 80th in 18:39.27, Gustavo Valdez 91st in 18:50.12, John Chavez 99th in 19:08.45, Jesus Castro 113th in 19:26.88, Mario Hurtado 126th in 19:42.99, Jorge Acevedo 138th in 20:09.05, Luis Leon 151st in 20:33.34, Antonio Villalobos 177th in 21:32.08, Andrew Hernandez 180th in 21:43.71, Erik Hernandez 184th in 21:54.49, and Daniel Cruz 187th in 22:15.19. This team also finished 7th overall and had the best gap between the 1st and 5th runner, about a minute gap..

The Flashes will next compete at the Rosemead Invitational on Friday, September 9th. First race starts at 5:10 pm.