Riverbank's Fernandez running for title, record

Senior and 20 others,

11/24/2007 12:00 AM

11/24/2007 3:24 AM

German Fernandez is going to take a run at history today at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Fernandez, a Riverbank High senior, has put together one of the most impressive seasons of any state runner over the last 20 years and hopes to win a state title when the gun is fired for the Division IV boys race at 1:25 p.m.

Fernandez leads a group of 21 individuals and three teams that will compete today. The Division V girls race kicks off the event with an 8:30 a.m. start. The Division IV boys race, which includes Fernandez and his Bruins teammates, is the finale.

Fernandez is aiming for a victory and has a chance to set a state record.

He won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV race two weeks ago at the Willow Hills course in Folsom in 15 minutes, 3 seconds. Folsom is considered about 30 seconds slower than Woodward Park. Marc Davis of San Diego High, who ran in the 1996 Olympic Games, set the state record -- 14:38 -- in 1986.

Fernandez is joined by several local competitors who could make noise in Fresno:

Beyer senior Crystal Esparza, Davis junior Amanda Innes and Merced senior Sable Browning will compete in the Division I girls race.

Bret Harte sophomore Katie O'Connor has the potential to place among the top 10 in the Division IV girls race. O'Connor is joined by her Bret Harte teammates as the only local girls team to make state.

The Modesto duo of Marty Pyeatt and Matt Maldonado are the lone local representatives in the Division I boys race. While Pyeatt placed fourth in the section, easily punching his ticket to state, Maldonado placed eighth and took the final berth.

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