ATWATER -- After a one-year hiatus, the Amanda Garcia Memorial Invitational returned to Atwater High School (SJ) on Saturday. Spectators and athletes enjoyed flyovers during the meet by planes taking part in the local Castle Air Force Base "open cockpit" day. And, the performances from North Coast and Sac Joaquin Section athletes elicited similar oohs and aahs.
In the Dave Donaldson Girls Championship 3-mile, NCS powerhouse Granada (NC) cruised to a 23-point score, averaging a course-record 18:32 for its top five on the long-standing 3-mile campus course. Senior Elizabeth Melcher led the Matadors in a personal best of 17:40, the No. 2 all-time girls performance on the course. NCS rival Dublin (NC) was second with 37 points and host SJS school Atwater (67) rounded out the top three girls teams.
Medha Gowda was fourth in 18:41.4 and freshman Laasya Balupari (19:03.2) was sixth to lead the Dublin gals.
In the Greg McKinstry Boys Championship 3-mile, state-ranked Granada and Dublin dueled throughout, with Dublin senior Sharvin Manjrekar prevailing in a personal best of 14:58, the No. 2 all-time boys performance on the course. Granada clearly ran together and maintained contact throughout, gapping 17 seconds in a narrow 27-30 victory over their EBAL counterparts.
Granada placed 2-3-6-7-9 led by juniors Farin Soriano (15:01.0) and Luther Hart (15:06.0), who placed second and third, respectively. Junior Roland Ruckmann-Barnes (15:11.0) was sixth, senior Jacob Bauman (15:12.9) was seventh and junior Dheeraj Gurusamy was ninth (15:18.9).
The meet, formerly the Merced County Championships, honors the memory of 2011 AHS and 2016 Sacramento State grad Amanda Garcia, one of the top middle distance runners ever at both of those schools. She ran and lived her life with passion and purpose, and we celebrate how she blessed the lives of all who knew her.
Temperatures were warm (70's for championship races) but conditions were good overall. All proceeds from the event go to the Amanda Garcia Memorial Scholarship, awarded to local student-athletes that will walk-on at NCAA institutions.