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Mendez qualifies for state meet

By: Matt Long
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Vista del Lago sophomore Marissa Mendez qualified for the state cross country championships by placing fifth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV varsity race on Saturday at Willow Hills. Mendez completed the 5,000-meter race in 20 minutes, 31 seconds to qualify for the state meet to be held in Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 29. “I ran pretty well, but I don’t think my time was as good as it could have been,” Mendez said. “My previous best on that course is 20:20 and I think the heat was the difference. It was hot out and I wasn’t used to it.” Mendez is excited for the state meet on Saturday, which will be her first time running at Woodward Park in Fresno. “I haven’t thought much about my goals,” Mendez said. “I heard it’s a fast course, so I’d like to run a personal record for a three-mile course, which is 19:46.” Mendez spent last week training with Oak Ridge’s team, and this week will have a couple track workouts and then some recovery days as she prepares for the state meet. Mendez wasn’t the only Vista athlete to excel. Also bringing home medals include sophomore Riley Martin, who won the two-mile Division III, IV and V race in 12:17. Sophomore Jennifer Arbaugh placed second in the Division III, IV and V freshman-sophomore race with a time of 14:19, while teammate Chelsea Gorman placed 10th in 15:12. Ian Kennedy, a junior, ran a 18:18 to place 15th in the Division IV varsity boys’ race, while junior Alicia Segura placed 38th in the girls’ varsity race in 23:36. “This was a really special day for our program,” Vista coach Mike Livingston said. “We got our first state meet qualifier and second section individual champion with Riley Martin’s victory. Ian Kennedy, who narrowly missed becoming our first boys’ state qualifier by a single place, and Alicia Segura had very strong showings for our junior class. Our sophomore girls’ Jenny Arbaugh and Chelsea Gorman finished up a great season with outstanding performances. The future looks bright for Vista del Lago cross country.”