Sonora and Tuolumne distance runners excelled in 4,000-meter events Saturday night at the Kim Duyst Cross Country Invitational meet outside Modesto, with Sonora High sophomore Adin Dibble placing first out of 146 competitors, and Summerville sophomore Sofia Vasquez placing third out of 106.

Sonora freshman Brianna Personius, running for her varsity team in her first high school race, placed fourth, about 30 seconds behind Vasquez.

Sonora junior Clayton Franco placed fifth, Summerville freshman Cruz Vasquez finished 26th, Sonora junior Kyle Smith finished 38th, junior Adam Aldrich was 57th, senior Brian McGee came in 75th, and junior James McGee came in 79th. Summerville senior Justin Drouet finished 132nd.

In the girls 4,000-meter varsity event, Vasquez finished third, Personius placed fourth, Summerville senior Elizabeth Young came in 52nd, and Summerville junior Elisa Hesselbarth finished 56th.

Sonora High School cross country coach Frank Garcia described the race course Saturday night as flat and fast.

Wildcats cross country varsity boys placed fifth as a team overall out of 18 teams at the Saturday night meet, which was held at River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres.

“We are impressed with our athletes and their outstanding early season performances,” Garcia said Monday in a phone interview. “They’ve been dedicated and working diligently as a team. For that first meet we’ve been training just a few weeks, since August, and we’ve had some great performances so far.”

The Kim Duyst Cross Country Invitational, named for the Stanislaus State coach, mentor and administrator who helped lead Warriors athletics from 1986 to 2018, is billed as a season-opening event for high school and college runners. The meet was held at night to avoid daytime heat in the Central Valley. The girls 4,000-meter event began at 9:45 p.m. and the boys 4,000-meter event started at 10 p.m.

In the boys freshmen/sophomore 2,000-meter run, Summerville sophomore Ruben Herrera placed 32nd, Sonora freshman Marcus Barajas placed 61st, Sonora sophomore John Shaw finished 65th, Grant Wimberly placed 100th, Summerville freshman Angelo Warden finished 110th, and Sonora sophomore Josh Hovatter came in 124th.

In the girls freshmen/sophomore 2,000-meter run, Sonora freshman Madison Clement placed fifth, Summerville sophomore Maggie McBride finished 10th, Sonora freshman Sydney Chesson finished 48th, Summerville sophomore Ivy Dolman placed 57th, and Summerville sophomore Lindsey Holland came in 74th.

Competing teams at the Saturday night meet came from Central California towns including Riverbank, Ripon, Hughson, Turlock, Del Oro, Patterson, Pleasant Grove, Lathrop, Manteca, Los Banos, and Amador County.

Strong showings in their first competitions this 2019 season set up the Sonora boys and girls cross country teams to take momentum this weekend into the 39th Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, presented by ASICS America.

Both teams are traveling to the Woodbridge Classic, which will be staged 375 miles south of Sonora, hosted by Woodbridge High School at SilverLakes Sports Complex in Norco, east of Los Angeles and north of Corona in Riverside County, this Friday night and Saturday.

Athletes from the Sonora varsity cross country teams will be competing in the 5,000-meter events, Garcia said. Competitors will be coming from all over the western U.S. for the Woodbridge Classic, which is billed as one of the largest high school cross country meets in the nation. Organizers estimate there will be 15,000 to 16,000 athletes, representing more than 400 high schools from 16 states.

Cross country coaches at Sonora include Garcia and assistants Corri Land and Julianne Personius.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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