FRESNO — Rick Cuevas was thrilled with his team's overall effort in Saturday's annual CIF State Cross Country Championships held at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Led by junior Johnny Sandoval, the young Lancers placed sixth overall in the Boys Division III.
"This is the best finish ever by any Manteca school," said East Union coach Rick Cuevas on this cold and cloudy day.
Ripon's girls team also competed at the state meet, placing 20th in Division IV.
For Sandoval, it was important to run his race, which he quickly discovered it was easier said than done in the crowded field of 217 runners in the 5,000 meter course.
"The pace is so much faster at the start," he recalled. "After I got boxed off, I was finally able to find my pace."
Sandoval clocked a time of 16:03.8, finishing in 20th place.
Colton Swinth of Carrillo took first place (15:10.2), just ahead of teammate Rory Smail (15:22.8).
Surprisingly, Carrillo (64) placed second in the team results, with Capolindo (47) taking first.
East Union (243) was right behind the likes of St. John Bosco (221), Cathedral Catholic (193) and Agoura (101).
Individually, Maury Ortiz (16:29.4), Cooper Freeman (16:46.1), Alex Cuevas (16:48.6), Daniel Morales (17:17.9), and Christian Avina (17:37.6) contributed to the Lancers' cause.
The Lady Indians enjoyed their historic moment at the state cross country meet. Like East Union, they claimed the Sac-Joaquin Section championship in their division.
"This was the first trip (for the Ripon girls) as a team," said coach Jill McPherson.
She and assistant coach, Brent White, brought the team to Woodward Park earlier in the week for a run-through the course.
But the same course with slightly over 200 runners was quite a different picture.
"It was really fast first mile," said Laila Irigoyen, who led her team with a time of 20:09.3.
She settled in and even got caught up in the excitement of this big event. "It kept me going," Irigoyen said.
As a team, Ripon scored 66 points — Sage Creek (44) took first place in Girls Division IV — with Lydia Waters (20:28.9), Annie Wild (20:30.3), Aiko Dearth (21:18.5), Sandra Castillo (21:31.8), Asia Rose (21:33.3) and Madison Berry (21:51.2) also contributing to the overall effort.