The Calexico High School cross country team, led by junior Briana Gallegos (third from right), defeated Palo Verde of Blythe in an Imperial Valley League dual meet at Sunbeam Lake Park near Seeley on Saturday, March 6. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO
SEELEY — Calexico High School junior Briana Gallegos might be a Bulldog, but she credits her pet husky for keeping her in shape while sports were shut down during COVID-quarantine.
Gallegos scored her second Imperial Valley League dual-meet victory on Saturday, March 6, finishing first in Calexico’s, 19-37, victory over Palo Verde of Blythe at Sunbeam Lake Park near Seeley. Gallegos finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 22 minutes, 37.01 seconds.
“For about a month, I kind of didn’t do anything during quarantine,” admitted the 16-year-old Gallegos. “Then I started to go out on runs with my dog. He usually gets tired on the third mile.”
Gallegos’ dog, Koda, is a 9-month-old husky who, like most dogs, got a lot of attention during COVID-quarantine days. Gallegos said she had to start slow running with him, going one mile, then two, and now up to three miles.
When it was announced, cross country would be the first sport to open at schools, Gallegos knew she was ready to run.
“I was really, really happy. I just wanted to get back out there and compete again,” Gallegos said. “The best part is running with my friends and joking around and having fun. And now competing again I get to see friends I’ve made from other teams.”
On March 6, Gallegos was part of a pack of Bulldogs that came in ahead of the competition. Senior Madison Longton (22:55.32) finished shortly after Gallegos and just ahead of junior Andrea Garcia (23:17.36).
“It was hot out there, but it was a good day,” said Luis Rodriguez, the girls’ cross country coach for Calexico. “Everyone did their job and it showed.”
The girls’ results from Saturday, March 6, were:
Briana Gallegos, junior, Calexico (22:37.01)
Madison Longton, senior, Calexico (22:55.32)
Andrea Garcia, junior, Calexico (23:17.36)
Nayeli Cano, junior, Calexico (24:58.27)
Savanah Hedge, senior, Palo Verde (27:18.74)
Jasmine Vasquez, sophomore, Palo Verde (27:59.70)
Jacqueline Sanchez, junior, Palo Verde (28:02.41)
Lizette Hernandez, senior, Palo Verde (29:00.58)
Rebeca Gonzales, freshman, Calexico (29:29.95)
Sarha Ojeda, junior, Calexico (29:35.91)
Summer Hedge, junior, Palo Verde (31:34.46)
Kiarra Higginson, freshman, Palo Verde (31:49.31)
Heidi Jorgensen, freshman, Palo Verde (32:28.93)
Ellen Rodriguez-Velazquez, junior, Palo Verde (33:31.16)
Vivian Salazar, freshman, Palo Verde (24:14.96)
In the boys’ race on March 6, Calexico senior Frederico Felix won his second IVL dual meet of the season, edging teammate and fellow senior Ricardo Campos by less than a second. The two seniors helped lead the Bulldogs to a, 15-42, victory over Palo Verde of Blythe.
Felix crossed the finished line with a winning time of 19 minutes, 15.07 seconds, while Pinela (19:15.41) was just behind.
The boys’ results from Saturday, March 6, were:
Frederico Felix, senior, Calexico (19:15.07)
Daniel Pinela, senior, Calexico (19:15.41)
Damian Torres, senior, Calexico (20:40.08)
Luis Jimenez, freshman, Calexico (20:55.05)
Jacob DeSantiago, senior, Calexico (21:18.77)
Jarred Randall, junior, Palo Verde (21:40.04)
Cade Alaniz, freshman, Palo Verde (22:51.34)
Jared Hull, freshman, Palo Verde (23:27.17)
Gabriel Dagnino, sophomore, Palo Verde (23:52.66)
Angel Chavez, senior, Calexico (24:07.56)
Abraham Aguirre, sophomore, Calexico (24:20.39)
Rio Albanez, sophomore, Palo Verde (27:11.54)
Richard Luna, junior, Calexico (28:56.63)
Vikings’ Senior Sets Course Record
Holtville High School senior Alan Jimenez set a new course record for the Sunbeam Lake 3.1-mile distance as the Vikings scored walkover wins in both the boys’ and girls’ races against Brawley on March 6. The Wildcats again failed to field enough runners to record a team score.
Jimenez, who has won all four IVL dual meets this season, finished with a time of 15 minutes, 42.90 seconds, and bested the previous course record by less than a second.
Results from the boys’ race were:
Alan Jimenez, senior, Holtville (15:42.90)
Joseph Taylor, junior, Brawley (19:06.65)
Dominic Kirkpatrick, senior, Brawley (20:17.65)
Javier Hurtado, junior, Holtville (22:56.54)
Ernesto Rosales, senior, Brawley (24:14.05)
Gannon Strahm, freshman, Holtville (25:55.55)
David Magallon, freshman, Holtville (27:15.71)
Francisco Hernandez, senior, Holtville (39:58.23)
While Holtville won the girls’ race by walkover, it was the Wildcats’ senior Jaasiel Contreras who crossed the finish line first with a time of 20 minutes, 30.71 seconds.
Results from the girls’ race were:
Jaasiel Contreras, senior, Brawley (20:30.71)
Lillian Strahm, freshman, Holtville (21:32.10)
Julitza Alvarez, senior, Brawley (21:49.11)
Lilandra Padilla, sophomore, Brawley (24:34.01)
Diana Acuna, junior, Holtville (27:41.03)
Danytza Sandoval, junior, Holtville (27:55.45)
Melissa Torres, senior, Holtville (27:58.43)
Camila Alverez, freshman, Brawley (33:16.03)
Mariel Estrada, junior, Holtville (35:56.55)
Ashley Iniguez, senior, Holtville (36:07.96)
Imperial Sweeps Southwest
The Imperial High cross-country teams scored a sweep of El Centro’s Southwest at Sunbeam Lake on Saturday, winning the girls’ race 23-35, and taking the boys’ event, 22-35.
Tigers’ junior Natalie Lopez won the girls race with a time of 21 minutes, 37.14 seconds. On the boys’ side, it was Imperial senior Victor Paniagua earning the top spot with a time of 18 minutes, 00.56 seconds.
The next IVL dual meets are scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, as Brawley will travel to Blythe to take on Palo Verde. At Sunbeam Lake, Imperial will run against Central at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9, while Holtville will match up against Calexico at 4 p.m.