By Andrea Camarena

Exeter's young blood is leading the varsity cross country squad into a string of top ranking finishes.

Freshman Allison Gonzales led the Monarch varsity girls again to a second place finish at the prestigious Mt. Whitney Invitational last Friday. Gonzales conquered Mooney Grove Park's three-mile course in 19:12.

Isaac Gonzales, the team's head coach, has high hopes for his veteran runners as well. He expects junior Abbey Cochran to be running on Gonzales' heels by midseason. She's not far off.

Cochran finished second for the team placing ninth amongst 120 runners. Her 19:49 time, coupled with senior Kelly Curtis' 20:15 12th place finish, brought the team up into ranking status. Rounded out by Rachel Mitchell, 21:53; Alyssa Stone, 23:08 and Brittany Hayes, 24:50; the team accomplished a score of merely 112 points placing them second behind CIF's No. 4, Clovis High School.

Last week's second place finish nudged the Monarch girls into the CIF top 10 teams.

The varsity boys also came in strong placing fifth out of the 14 participating schools. Senior Brandon Sutton captured the 25th spot at the finish line with a three-mile time of 17:10.

Tim Stone, Jordan Cavanagh and Willy Rosales finished up in a pack placing 29th, 30th and 31st with times of 17:27, 17:29 and 17:30. Fresman Clayton Reynolds wrapped up at 18:57.

Showing further promise for the Monarchs, Sandra Pablo captured third place in the JV girls two mile race wih a time of 16:19. First year runner Stephen Frankowiak placed seventh among the freshmen boys in 19:13.

The Invitational was preceeded by a three-school meet where the Monarchs pushed past both Porterville and El Diamante.

The boys captured the big win on the three-mile course. The Monarchs stayed close in their meet and finished with five runners in the top six. Sutton finished second in the meet and first for the Monarchs in 18:25. Cavanagh finished up behind him at 18:40.

Stone, Rosales and Reynolds followed with 18:49, 18:55 and 19:28. The boys captured the win with only 20 points.

The girls also came through with the lowest score in their race. With Gonzales finishing first and Cochran and Cutis winning the third and fourth spots, the Monarchs finished with 27 team points, just beating Porterville's 28.

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