By PETER FOURNIER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Piner’s Efren Reyes finished in 11th place in the Division 4 race at the CIF State Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Fresno.
The highest finishing girl from the Empire was Mendocino’s Erin Thomas, who placed 12th in the Division 4 race. Another high-placing Empire runner was Sonoma Academy’s Alyssa Goody, who finished 13th in the Division 5 girls race.
In the boys Division 5 race, Sonoma Academy’s Patrick Loftus was 26th and El Molino’s Brian Schulz finished in 40th.
Reyes finished 46 seconds behind race winner Caleb Webb, from Big Bear.
Prospectors cross country coach Luis Rosales said that Reyes ran a little slower than at last year’s meet.
“He didn’t run the best race he had … but to finish 11th isn’t bad,” Rosales said, adding that Reyes told him that he started a bit faster than he should have.
“I think that came back to haunt him later in the race.”
Rosales said in a race like that, Reyes had little choice but to do that.
“You have to go with the people because if you don’t, you find yourself way behind,” Rosales said.
The Piner boys finished 18th out of 23 teams. The girls team didn’t qualify for the state race.
The Prospectors senior was the highest placing Empire Runner at the state meet. In the Division 2 race, Maria Carrillo’s Ryan Anderson finished in 14th and Casa Grande’s Matt Salazar finished in 26th.
The Pumas boys earned a 13th-place finish and the girls were 15th. Both Gauchos boys and girls teams finished 21st.
“We’re OK with 13th,” Maria Carrillo coach Greg Fogg said. “I was telling the kids if all the boys just ran four seconds faster, we would have gone from 13th to 10th.”
Next year’s Pumas boys team will have five returning runners.
“This is totally a bonus,” Fogg said. “If both teams do well, we exceed expectations.”
He said racing on the course isn’t easy.
“Everybody is running on top of each other to get a spot in the first 200 or 300 meters,” he said.
Other Empire finishers included Santa Rosa’s Delaney White, who finished 89th in the Division 2 girls race, and Petaluma’s Madison Parratt, who was 96th in the Division 3 girls race.
In the Division 3 boys race, Petaluma’s Casey Kramer finished 73rd.
In the Division 2 race, Windsor’s Zach Price came in 100th place. El Molino’s Brady Lane was 109th in Division 5.