Ontario senior twins Gonzalo (left) and Alex Espinoza (right) are joined by mother Yolanda and father Allejandro prior to the beginning of the Saint Alphonsus Invitational on Saturday in Ontario. The two brothers have competed against each other since childhood and now are less than a second of each other in some of the state’s best times. (The Enterprise/John L. Braese)
Ontario twins Alex and Gonzalo Espinoza were born two minutes apart. Any time advantage that may hold has been cut to .03 of a second, as both claimed top-three times in the Greater Oregon League in both the 100 and 200-meter races.
The Ontario seniors also are part of two Tiger relay teams, and as they complete their final year of high school, both have goals on and off the track.
“I have just never been able to beat him,” said Gonzalo, the younger brother. “I can take him coming out of the start, but Alex has a kick at the end of the race and just goes by me.”
Neither brother sees many runners go past, though.
Alex is ranked second in the league in the 100 meters, posting a season-best of 11.53 seconds. Gonzalo sits third in the standings with a 11.73-second finish.
In the 200 meters, Alex again bests younger brother Gonzalo, though by a narrower margin. Alex has the second-best time in the league at 23.21. Gonzalo is less than a lean at the tape behind, clocking in at 23.24, a difference of .03 of a second.
Growing up, the two have always been competitive, but took different paths to the track.
“We both attended May Roberts School and played soccer when we were little,” said Alex. “After that, we kind of went our separate ways sportswise.”
While Alex continued on the soccer field at Ontario High School, Gonzalo gravitated to the sidelines as a cheerleader. Now in their senior year, the two have returned to the track to excel as individuals and as members of the Tiger relay teams.
The twins combined with Olee Shell and Armando Veloz on Saturday at the Saint Alphonsus Invitational before a home crowd. The team posted the second fastest 4x400 relay time in the league, running the event in 3 minutes, 38.03 seconds.
The duo also contributed to the second fastest league time in the 4-by-100 relay, running with Shell and Alan Chew to clock 45.80 seconds.
The time together as competitors is quickly coming to an end after running side by side and passing off a baton. After graduation, the twins are heading to different states.
Alex is going to Oregon State University to study biology with an emphasis in pre-med. Gonzalo will be going a different route, moving to Arizona to study technology.
While together this last year of high school, both have one goal and one has an additional goal.
“We both want to make it to state,” said Alex. “I think it would be great to run with my brother at the state meet.”
“I just want to beat him once,” said Gonzalo. “I have been ahead of him in a few races, only to see him kick it in at the end and get by me. I just want to hold him off once at the tape before the end of the year.”
The brothers’ finishes helped the Ontario boys to a fourth-place finish Saturday at the Saint Alphonsus Invitational in Ontario. The Tigers girls, using a record-setting day in some events, placed first in the team standings.
The Espinoza twins helped the cause, with Alex finishing fourth in the 100 meters and Gonzalo taking sixth place. In the 200, Alex placed third and Gonzalo was sixth.
In the 400-meter race, Alex outdistanced his brother in the final 100 meters to win in a time of 52.08 seconds. Gonzalo, in second, crossed the line in 53.15 seconds.
Other highlights in the boy’s competition included a second-place finish by Jordan Valley’s Zeke Quintero in the triple jump.
The Tiger girls had to hold off Cove in the team standings. Ontario finished the day with 99 points while Cove put up 85.5 points. The Adrian girls finished in fourth, one and one-half points behind third place Tri-Valley.
Teams across Oregon took note as the Tiger girls set the 4A best time of 50.48 seconds in the 4-by-100 relay on Saturday. With Abbey Wood, Jasmine Ware, Lexy Jordan and Meagan Houston on the track, the Tigers crossed the finish in 50.48 seconds, the leading time in the state.
Ware also clocked the third-fastest time in the state, with her third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
Ontario was not the lone team to make waves at Saturday’s meet.
Adrian’s Morgan Bayes claimed the fastest time in the 300-meter hurdles among all 1A competitors after posting a time of 46.64 seconds. Bayes teamed with Shayla Griffin, Sadey Speelmon and Roby Young to give the Antelopes the best time in the state in the 4-by-400 relay.
The battle between the Espinoza brothers will continue this Friday as Ontario travels to the Baker Invitational, the final regular meet of the year before districts.
Adrian will be on the road to Prairie City for the High Desert League meet Thursday, and then travel to Baker on Friday.
Jordan Valley also will compete at Prairie City before taking time off to prepare for districts.
TEAM SCORES: Girls: Ontario, 99. Cove, 85.5. Tri-Valley, 66. Adrian, 64.5. Baker, 50. Cole Valley Christian, 47. Parma, 43. McLoughlin, 36. Crane, 35. Union, 35. Fruitland, 20. Prairie City, 19. Homedale, 18. Payette, 10. Emmett, 10. Council, 9. La Grande, 7. Jordan Valley, 6. Powder Valley, 2.
Boys: Fruitland, 86. Tri-Valley, 79. Cole Valley Christian, 67. Ontario, 56.5. La Grande, 52.5. cove, 51. Powder Valley, 45.5. Homedale, 40. Baker, 35. McLoughlin, 25. Payette, 25. Adrian, 19.5. Union, 17. Emmett, 16. Crane, 15. Jordan Valley, 14. Prairie City, 10. Parma, 6. Council, 3.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: Girls: Shot put: 2. Shyanne Allaire (Adrian), 32-01.50. 3. Katie Adams (Ontario), 31-04.50. Discus: 3. Katie Adams (Ontario), 96-01. Javelin: 3. Shyanne Allaire (Adrian), 105-02. 5. Katie Adams (Ontario), 95-10. High jump: 3. Roby Young (Adrian), 4-08.00. 4. Sadey Speelmon (Adrian), 4-08.00. Pole vault: 4. Kenzie Sorrell (Adrian), 7-06.00. 9. Easton Hartley (Ontario), 6-00.00. Long jump: 1. Jazmine Ware (Ontario), 16-10.75. 2. Meagn Houston (Ontario), 16-06.75. Triple jump: 3. Kiana Quintero (Jordan Valley), 29-10.25. 8. Easton Hartley (Ontario), 28-09.25. 100 meters: 3. Meagan Houston (Ontario), 13.14. 4. Abbey Wood (Ontario), 13.19. 7. Shayla Griffin (Adrian), 13.96. 9. Lexy Jordan (Ontario), 14.15. 200 meters: 2. Abbey Wood (Ontario), 28.01. 3. Meagan Houston (Ontario), 28.16. 7. Shayla Griffin (Adrian), 28.77. 400 meters: 6. Abbey Wood (Ontario), 1:06.09. 800 meters: 8. Sadey Speelmon (Adrian), 2:41.03. 100-meter hurdles: 2. Jazmine Ware (Ontario), 16.30. 3. Morgan Bayes (Adrian), 16.73. 4. Lexy Jordan (Ontario), 17.75. 300-meter hurdles: 2. Morgan Bayes (Adrian), 46.64.. 3. Jazmine Ware (Ontario), 47.59. 5. Lexy Jordan (Ontario), 53.18. 10. Sicily Chiara (Ontario), 58.56. 4X100 relay: 1. Ontario (Abbey Wood, Jazmine Ware, Lexy Jordan, Meagon Houston), 50.48. 3. Adrian (Sadey Speelmon, Shayla Griffin, Roby Young, Morgan Bayes), 53.72. 4X400 relay: 1. Adrian (Shayla Griffin, Morgan Bayes, Sadey Speelmon, Roby Young), 4:20.86. 6. Ontario (Alayana Smith, Briona Romayor, Edith Franco, Boston Garcia), 4:50.95.
Boys: Javelin: 8. Caysen Young (Adrian), 108-06. Long jump: 4. Ethan Kameshige (Ontario), 19-01.50. 5. Zeke Quintero (Jordan Valley), 18-11.50. 8. Eduardo Munoz (Adrian), 18-03.00.. 9. Olee Shell (Ontario), 18-00.75. Triple jump: 2. Zeke Quintero (Jordan Valley), 41-01.25. 4. Olee Shell (Ontario), 39-03.25. 100 meters: 3. Michael Babcock (Adrian), 11.54. 4. Alex Espinoza (Ontario), 11.57. 6. Gonzalo Espinoza (Ontario), 11.74. 9. Alan Chew (Ontario), 12.17. 200 meters: 3. Alex Espinoza (Ontario), 23.40. 5. Gonzalo Espinoza (Ontario), 23.82. 6. Ehtan Kameshige (Ontario), 24.88. 400 meters: 1. Alex Espinoza (Ontario), 52.08. 2. Gonzalo Espinoza (Ontario), 53.15. 1500 meters: 8. James Ellsworth (Adrian), 4:40.00. 3000 meters: 10. James Ellsworth (Adrian), 10:48.41. 110-meter hurdles: 7. Sam Green (Jordan Valley), 18.72. 4X100 relay: 2. Adrian (Wade Bond, Ethan Sheets, Eduardo Munoz, Michael Babcock), 46.31. 4X400 relay: 2. Ontario (Olee Shell, Gonzalo Espinoza, Armando Veloz, Alex Espinoza), 3:38.03. 6. Adrian (Manuel Aguirre, Eduardo Munoz, Caysen Young, Clay Ready), 3:51.64.