Coaches from the Alisal and Salinas High cross country teams shared the same sentiment after the first Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division Cross Country Center — this is just the beginning.
The Alisal boys team finished first in the seven-team meet at Natividad Creek Park while the Salinas girls team edged Hollister by two points.
There are two more league Center Meets — Oct. 3 in Gilroy and Oct. 17 in Monterey — and the MBL championships take place Oct. 27.
“The boys did what we expected them to do today,” Alisal coach Steven Munoz said. “We packed together and when we do that they really push each other.
“It’s good to get the win, but we have to stay humble. We can’t walk around with our heads in the clouds.”
Alisal put its top five runners in the first 11 positions on the 3-mile course to finish with a team score of 36. Luis Vargas was the top Trojan, finishing in 16 minutes, 24 seconds. Teammate Orlando Sanchez came in at 16:30 and Emmanuel Gomez was third in 16:30.
Hollister’s Steven Velarde won the race in 16:00 and teammate Ricardo Esqueda was second.
Salinas finished second with a team score of 56 and Hollister was third (60). Rounding out the team finishes it was North County (99), Monterey (127), Palma (143) and Gilroy (162).
The Cowboys had three runners in the top 10, led by Alex Adams’ seventh-place time of 16:57. Trent Storm came in at 17:03 and Manuel Lopez 17:04.
“We’re pretty much settled with what we’ve got,” Salinas coach Roger Chagnon said. “After the Earlybird Invitational, I felt we were better off than I first thought we’d be. It’s up to them how much better they’ll get.
North County’s Oscar Mora came in fifth in 16:49.
On the girls side, the Cowboys took the third, fourth and fifth spots — all within an nine second gap — to help hold off Hollister 36-38.
The Haybalers took the first two spots with Vanessa Estrada tearing up the course with a 17:39 and Maura Forbush coming in at 19:05.
Salinas’ top finishers were Malena Grover (19:27), Leah Meuter (19:28) and Cynthia Camacho (19:36). The Cowboys secured the win with their fourth runner Alicia Cuevas edging Hollister’s fourth at the line and Megan Mayfield finishing two spots ahead of Hollister’s fifth runner.
“It’s good to get the win,” Chagnon said. “Things went our way today. There were some runners from other schools that didn’t run as strong as they usually do.
“Today shows them what they’re capable of doing. We’ve got six runners that are in the 10th or 11th grade, so we’ll see what they do with it this season. I’d like to see them put it together this year.”
Alisal finished third (84), Notre Dame fourth (101), North County fifth (108), Monterey sixth (144) and Gilroy seventh (187).
Notre Dame’s Jackie Tarsitano came in sixth (19:53), North County’s Linda Delgado seventh (19:58), Notre Dame’s Alex Lathos ninth (20:19) and Alisal’s Graciela Belmontes 10th (20:27).
Christopher 3, North Salinas 2: At Christopher, the Cougars scored the go-ahead goal with seven minutes left in the match to knock off the two-time defending MTAL champions.
Maddie Peterson scored the game-winner for Christopher (3-0 MTAL) and Sherelle Butler scored a pair of goals.
North Salinas (4-2, 4-1 MTAL) took a 2-1 lead five minutes into the second half, but Christopher knotted it up 15 minutes later. Scoring for the Vikings were Vanessa Cano and Monae Hobson. Elizabeth Alcala had a pair of assists.
The Vikings play Tuesday at home against Santa Catalina.
City College San Francisco 4, Hartnell 2: At Hartnell, the Panthers took a 2-1 second-half lead, but the No. 1 ranked team in Northern California roared back with three unanswered goals.
Hartnell got goals from Celina Medina and Patty Magdaleno. Martiza Nava and Karina Alvarez registered assists. The Panthers (3-2-2) play Friday at home against Cabrillo College.
Stevenson 284, Pacific Grove 329: At Spyglass Hill (par 36), the Pirates improved to 4-0 in MTAL match play, while Pacific Grove’s Lauren Molin earned medalist honors with a 42.
Stevenson’s Kaitlin Brennan carded a 45, Emily Jaye 54 and Irene Kim 58.
Santa Catalina 239, Salinas 322: At Quail Lodge Golf Club, Sophomore Chloe Corriveau earned a medalist honors with a 36 for the Cougars (3-0 MTAL).
Kiley Gibbs and Paisley Piasecki had rounds of 40 and 41, respectively. Salinas’ Elizaeth Leavitt shot a 42.
Alisal 3, Pajaro Valley 2: At Pajaro Valley (Tuesday), the Trojans defeated the Grizzlies in a five-setter to open up MBL Pacific Division play.
Reserve setter Jeanette Vega had 41 assists and Alondra Haro had 29 kills and 32 digs.
The Trojans host Christopher today.