1st Annual Jackie Henderson Memorial Preview by Coach Gustavo Ibarra
We are excited to host our 1st Annual Jackie Henderson Memorial Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, October 6th at North Monterey County High School in Castroville. Jackie was an assistant cross country and track coach at North Monterey County who was tragically hit by a car while out on a run in the summer of 2017. This event will be in her memory and will be held yearly on the high school campus where she taught science and coached. The course is 3 miles and features grass loops, track laps in a brand new state of the art track and field stadium, and loops on a newly developed nature trail on the hills nearby. It has a mix of everything with great viewing and seating in the stadium and a very exciting stadium finish area.
We welcome 17 schools to our first year event. 14 are from the Central Coast Section. We especially welcome those from out of the area with two Sac-Joaquin Section teams and one Southern Section team making the long trip. The meet kicks off with an open race (8:30 am) to honor Jackie allowing everyone to lace them up. Then the traditional Frosh/Soph (9:00 Girls, 9:30 Boys), Junior Varsity (10:00 Girls, 10:30 Boys), and Varsity (11:00 Girls, 11:30 Boys) races for each gender.
For the girls, Mills comes in as our favorites. They recently placed a very strong 3rd at the Stanford Invitational in the Division 3 race and hope to carry that momentum here. San Benito (Hollister) has had a nice kick off to their season leading the newly formed 30 school Pacific Coast Athletic League and should battle Sac-Joaquin representative Hughson for 2nd best. Templeton from the Southern Section and host North Monterey County look to be other squads with chances of a top 3 podium finish. Individually, our top 10 contenders include Emily Fife (Hughson), Tessa Chen (Mills), Layla Ruiz (Watsonville), Nicole Leon (Mills), Ashley Hurdle (Templeton), Cynthia Tena (San Benito), Faith Mora (North Monterey County), Lauren Okamoto (San Benito), Audrey Kim (Mills), Sydney Greaves (Big Valley Christian), and Andrea Villegas (North Monterey County).
The boys features a traditionally strong small school in King City. The Mustangs are coming off a very fine runner-up showing at Stanford in Division 4 and should be a runaway winner here. San Benito (Hollister) will be trying to hold off Mills and Hughson while Templeton, Watsonville, Gonzalez and North Monterey County will shoot for top 5 finishes. Individually, Esteban Deniz (King City) should be favored with his teammates Fausto Medina and Daniel Correa working together to hold off all the other challengers. Hoping to break up the King City party will be Leo Schroeder (Mills), teammates Christian Chavez and Joseph Loredo (San Benito), Austin Hoach (Hughson), Peter Pacheco (Big Valley Christian), and Jiovanni Garcia (North Monterey County).
Thank you to the schools who have joined us as we honor Jackie and we hope you enjoy the meet!
RIP Coach Jackie Henderson
July 25th, 1989-July 14th, 2017
Jacklyn was fatally struck while visiting family by an SUV while running in Huntington, NY on July 14th, 2017. She was 27 years old. A native of Huntington, Jacklyn graduated from Oyster Bay High School before attending Hunter College, where she was a three-year member of the Hawks cross country and track and field teams. A talented distance runner, Jacklyn was a member of two CUNYAC Championship cross country teams (2010 and 2011), earning first-place in the conference championship meet in 2010 to take CUNYAC Runner of the Year honors. Jacklyn was a six-time conference All-Star and helped the Hunter distance medley relay team to a CUNYAC title at the 2010-2011 Indoor Championships. She graduated from Hunter in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, her childhood passion. She was a biology teacher and cross country and track and field coach at North Monterey County High School in Castroville, CA at the time of her passing. At North Monterey County High she quickly became one of the most popular teachers on campus. Hundreds of her students, athletes, and fellow staff members quickly became very fond of her. She had a great passion for life, adventures, travel, and making everyone she met feel complete and unconditional love. She was extremely family and friend oriented. She lived every day as if it were her last and made lasting impacts on those she has left behind. Her legacy will live on with all those she touched in life. Our heartfelt thoughts are with Jacklyn's family and friends, as well as her teammates, students, athletes, and colleagues. #RUNLIKEJACKIE