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Ripon, Manteca gunning for state berths Saturday
Martin Ponce and the rest of the Manteca High boys cross country runners are just one of four area team hoping to qualify for the state meet at Saturdays Sac-Joaquin Section finale. - photo by Ike Dodson

After advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet with a first-place finish at sub-sections, the Ripon girls cross country program stands a legitimate chance at the program’s first-ever berth in the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.

The Lady Indians would have to close as one of the top two qualifying teams in the Division-IV race. They were second to none last week, with five runners finishing in the top 30. Ellie Waters and Jessica Carmona (17th and 19th, respectively) ended up in the top20.

The Ripon boys team has put together back-to-back trips to the state championships, but will most definitely have to improve on its sixth-place finish in Division-IV during sub-sections. Ripon was led by Alec Steinberg’s 24th-place finish.

The Division-III girls grouping saw the Manteca Buffaloes earn a respectable sixth-place finish, led by sixth-place overall finisher Harleen Pabla. The Buffaloes distance runners have shown a history of finishing the season in strong fashion, giving the group a healthy chance at one of the three advancing D-III spots.

Sierra High’s Josh Spooner finished sixth overall at sub-sections and has a promising opportunity to advance to the state championships. Spooner would need to land one of the five individual qualifying berths on the line for runners not on qualifying teams that finish in the meet’s top-14 places overall. Manteca’s Phillip Hererra was 13th in sub-sections and will look to extend his season with an impressive race.

The event will take place at Folsom High and will begin competition at 9 a.m. The Division-III girls event will be the meet’s 10th event and will get underway at 12:40 p.m., while the Division-IV and V boy’s race will begin at 1:10 p.m. Boy’s Division-III will follow that at 1:45 p.m. and the Division-IV and V girl’s race will culminate the participating area program’s action scheduled for a 2:15 p.m. starting time. All race times are approximate and may fluctuate due to previous race circumstances.