ROCKINGHAM — Setting the pace around the Sandhills has named sophomore cross country runner Mariana Mendez the Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week, presented by HWY 55.
In her second year running for the Lady Raiders, Mendez has emerged as the team’s top runner in all three meets this fall. Most impressively, however, are her two wins in back-to-back races.
Earning her first career recognition, Mendez set another new personal record during last week’s race.
Fall Sport: Cross Country
Position: No. 1 Runner
Years on Varsity: 2 years
“CROSSING THE FINISH LINE” WITH MARIANA MENDEZ
With the departure of former runner Maylyn Wallace, who graduated and currently runs at Embry-Riddle, the Lady Raiders needed someone to step up and fill the void. Mendez answered the call and has been the frontrunner all season for the team.
During her last two races, Mendez has recorded new personal record times in the 5K race. She set a new PR two weeks ago at Hinson Lake (24:04), before shattering it in the Lady Raiders’ meet at Kiwanis Park in Sanford last Tuesday.
Leading the field of 27 runners, Mendez clocked in with a new PR of 22:45, taking a total of 1:19 off her previous personal best race time. She also impressed by finishing the race 75 seconds faster than the next runner, Lee County’s Sarai Perez.
Mendez’s first-place finish, coupled with fellow sophomore Ella Munn’s third-place mark, started a string of five Lady Raiders finishing in the top nine of the race. Richmond won the meet with 23 points, easily outrunning second-place Hoke County (43 points).
Since the start of the season, Mendez has shaved 3:23 off of her official time.
Looking to win her third straight overall race, Mendez and the Lady Raiders will compete on Tuesday against Lee County and Scotland. Race times will begin at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
RAPID RESPONSE VIDEO WITH MARIANA MENDEZ
Watch a video interview of Mendez, who talks about her two recent wins, what she focuses on while running and explains which super power she’d want to have.
The Richmond Observer will publish its Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week soon.