Hartnell cross country

 Statements can be made in September.
 The Panthers are not hiding their feelings about their quest for a state men's team title.
 Beating reigning five-time state champion American River College at the Fresno Invitational is a step in the right direction.
 Granted, we're still eight weeks from when the stakes will be higher.
 Yet, this was a message and a confidence builder for a program chasing its own shadows right now.
 Hartnell, behind individual champion Edgar Bonilla, became the first men's program in Northern California in eight years to beat American River -- soundly I might add with a 30 point margin.
 Of course, there are obstacles that remain, such as Mt. San Antonio College, who won the meet and Glendale, who Hartnell edged by a point.
 Two weeks earlier, the Panthers were soundly beaten by Glendale in Oxnard.
 That's called progress and improvement.
 Bonilla, a King City grad, is one of the elite runners in the state, having placed last year for Hartnell at the state finals.
 Depth is the key this fall for the Panthers, who are stacked with former local prep talent, such as Alvarez alum Jorge Sanchez, who ran a personal best in 90 degree heat last week in Fresno.
 Mario Perez Jr., Oscar Mora Jr., Jaime Garcia, Andrew Martinez and Angel Mejia Jr. give Hartnell seven distance aces pushing each other. Others are itching to crack the top seven.
 Personal bests are being established in September for the Panthers. This is a program that never hits its full stride until November.

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