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KINGSBURG — On a warm sunny morning, the Vikings cross country team hosted 39 schools and approximately 1,000 athletes in the Kingsburg 2-mile event on Sept. 8.

The event took place on the Kingsburg High School campus and it featured eight 2-mile races with competitors being split by grade level. Each race started at the junior varsity baseball field and ended on the track inside the football stadium.

Kingsburg head coach Robert Hernandez said hosting the yearly event isn’t easy, but the collective effort from everyone involved makes it a successful event.

“I always say it every year, it takes a village,” Hernandez said. “We need a lot of help and we get it from either the team, from the parents or other sports here on campus.”

Another thing that Hernandez considers the event to be successful in is starting the races on time. The first race started at 8 a.m. beginning with the freshman boys and the final race ended around 10:45 with the senior boys, which started at 10:30.

“We really strive to keep things on time around here,” Hernandez said. “Everything was to the second, and I think that’s what these teams like.”

As for Kingsburg’s runners, none of them placed in their respective events. Sophomore Ivan Gonzalez had the best time of any Vikings runner finishing with a time of 11:43.16 in his race.

Sophomores Mason Waldner and Jordan Hjelm has the second and third best times for the Kingsburg boys. Waldner finished with a time of 12:02.66 and Hjelm finished at 12:12.40. Freshman Steven Rosales finished with a time of 13:23.51 while senior Adam Garza raced to a time of 13:23.51.

Garza is the only male senior on the team and started competing in cross country and track as a junior.

“There’s always room for improvement, and I always want to improve,” Garza said. “I might not be the fastest, but I’m the hardest worker out there in my mind. My teammates are the reason I push myself.”

On the girls side, sophomore Rajvir Rai and junior McKayla Nichols were the only Kingsburg runners to compete. In their respective races, Rai finished with a time of 14:25.79 and Nichols finished at 14.56.84.

Team captain Syndey Luttrell didn’t race in the event, but the senior enjoyed watching her teammates compete.

“I love watching them race,” Luttrell said. “The hard work that they have put in during the past two weeks is just amazing.”

Selma High’s cross country team also competed and after the conclusion of the event, Bears head coach Haskell Hensen said there’s room for improvement as a team.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re improving,” Hensen said. “We have a young team.”

On the boys side, junior Juan Aragon had the best time for the Bears finishing with a time of 10:58.08 in his race. Junior Christopher Rosas had the second best time at 11:49.35 followed by junior Carlos Avendano’s time of 11:52.85.

Seniors Fernando Leanos and Christopher Alatorre had times close to each other. Leanos finished at 12:03.72 while Alatorre was behind him at 12:05.93. Humberto Partida, a senior, finished with a time of 12:38.25.

As for the girls, juniors Mari Vasquez and Davida Silva had the best times for Selma. Vasquez finished with a time of 13:58.33 while Silva finished at 14:53.58.

“My top seven [runners] are juniors and sophomores,” Hensen said. “Next year we could be pretty good if they stay with it.”

Up next for both Kingsburg and Selma teams is the Sanger Invitational on Sept. 14. The event will take place at Avocado Lake in Sanger.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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