The 23-year drought is over.
The Watsonville Wildcatz girl’s cross country team edged Gilroy 52-58 to win the Monterey Bay League Pacific championship Saturday at Toro County Park in Salinas.
It was the girl’s first league title since 1990.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said sophomore Fabiola Abonce. “I’m just proud of myself and my teammates. We all worked together.”
The first-time cross country runner was the Wildcatz’s top finisher coming in eighth place at 22:20 despite practicing just two times this week because of other obligations.
“Every single time I would want to stop I would say ‘no, for my team, for my team,’ I was about to stop on the final hill, but I’m glad that I didn’t.”
Abonce’s teammates were glad she didn’t, and they were not far behind.
Senior Lizette Garcia and junior Beatriz Duarte came in ninth and tenth with times of 22:39.2 and 22:39.5.
But the deciders of the race were Adriana Abonce, Fabiola’s older sister, Cynthia Hueso-Fernandez and Gema Collazo-Munoz.
Adriana finished 14th just one spot ahead of Gilroy’s Bianca Johnson, and Hueso-Fernandez (20th) and Collazo-Munoz (22nd) both beat out Gilroy’s Librada Lopez (23rd) to give the Catz the win.
“We stayed as group and we did what we were suppose to do,” Garcia said. “This showed that all the hard work, all the practices, we’ve done has paid off.”
The Wildcatz didn’t know that they had won the championship until after the boy’s varsity race had begun, and the results were posted up for everyone to see.
But once they were informed of their accomplishment they laughed, hugged and took pictures until their hearts were content.
“It was amazing,” Garcia said. “We got first place. For the first time in 23 years, it’s pretty amazing.”
Garcia explained that when she first started cross country as a freshman she wasn’t as serious as she is now about the sport, but through of the push of her teammates and coaches she continued to stay motivated.
Now the senior is walking away with an MBL Pacific title and a place in Wildcatz history.
Notre Dame's Alex Lathos continued her streak of domination by finishing first with a time of 20:03.5 to win the MBL Pacific individual championship.
Monte Vista Christian's Veronica Ward finished in the top ten.
The freshman's mark of 21:57.4 was good enough for sixth place.
In the Gabilan, the North Monterey County Condors came in fourth place and San Benito took the title.
The Condors' top finisher was senior Nancy Rodriguez. Her time of 20:34.4 landed her in third place.
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watsonville wildcatz cross country lizette garcia fabiola abonce beatrice duarte mbl champions pacific Cynthia Hueso-Fernandez and Gema Collazo-Munoz Nancy Rodriguez North Monterey County Condors Veronica Ward Alex Lathos