Falcons finish top three at Leadbetter

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Leadbetter Beach hosted the Santa Barbara Invitational where the Cerritos College women’s cross country team placed second and the men’s team placed third overall.

The women’s team finished with 68 total team points while the men’s team finished with a total of 93.

The Cerritos College women’s team had one runner finish in the top 10 as freshman Natalie Fyke placed seventh overall for the women with a time of 21:10.

Freshman runner Julia Plecnik, who finished 33rd with a time of 22:50 commented on how this course helped her by saying, ” The sand was the hardest part but it helped me push myself more.”

The course brought different challenges for the runners as different stages went from sand to concrete, then back to sand.

Freshman Gabriella Villalobos and sophomore Angela Gonzalez tied with a time of 22:05. Villalobos was awarded 21st place while Gonzalez was awarded 22nd place.

Villalobos addressed her perspective of her performance saying, “I think I did what the coach wanted me to do and step it up. It was a hard course because of the sand and hills but somehow I was able to keep a positive mindset and keep going.”

The final two runners that scored for the women’s cross country team was Giselle Dominguez and Jessica Yuen, who crossed the finish line seconds apart. Dominguez came in 25th place with a time of 22:24, while Yuen finished in 26th place with a time of 22:26.

Some of the Falcon runners experienced issues during the race that impacted the outucome. Plecnik talked about the issues that she had during the race saying, ” My legs started acting up and I started slowing down. I didn’t do that well. I was pretty disappointed.”

Coming off the heels of the Vanguard Invitational where the men’s team sat out its top two runners, Daniel Herrera and Munar Kahssay, they are happy about their overall finish.

Herrera spoke about how sitting out of the last meet helped his performance in the last meet by saying, “Everybody was feeling a little beat after the Socal preview. Taking a week off helped me rest up.”

Herrera also discussed how he deals with the pressure of being one of the top runners on the men”s team as he said, “I look forward to it. [The pressure.] With every race, I get a little bit nervous which comes from the pressure and anticipation.”

The rest also proved to be helpful for Kahssay who placed second for the men.

Herrera and Kahssay ended the race running side by side as they crossed the finish line.

Sophomore runner Luis Calderon, who finished 38th commented on his performance saying, “It [Santa Barbara] was different than Vanguard. It was harder to deal with the different surfaces.”

Other Cerritos College men runners to place was Thomas Poston, who finished 12th, Joey Moreno, who finished 25th, and Jose Hernandez, who ended the day with a 28th place finish.

Calderon also addressed the difference between the previous meet at Vanguard and the Santa Barbara meet saying, ” This race [Santa Barbara] was one mile less, so I had to be a little bit quicker on the decisions that I made.”

Both teams enter a bye week during which time they will rest and prepare for the post season.

Following the bye week, the Falcons will host the South Coast Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9:00 a.m. at Cerritos Park.

The Santa Barbara [track] meet was the last regular season meet for both teams.