Lou Vasquez Invite provides big test for Falcons

Robert Beaver and Robert Beaver

The Cerritos College cross country team is looking to make a statement against the defending state champions American River College on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Lou Vasquez Invitational in San Francisco, Calif.

The Cerritos College team faired well against the champions this past week at the Orange Coast So Cal Preview with top runner Munir Kahssay finishing first, while four American River athletes filled consecutive spots behind him.

The Cerritos College men placed second in the team competition, at only 18 points behind American River College. The women’s team placed fourth, at 51 points behind first place team Orange Coast College.

“We hope to get after the state champs,” Assistant Coach Daniel Ozan, said. “About 60 to 70 percent of our team set new personal records. It’s going to give (the team) the confidence to take on the big dogs.”

Ozan said that the upcoming meet is a priority race since it gives the team a chance to face the state champions on their own turf. Ozan added that the last meet was more of a workout rather than a race, so he expects the team to give a stronger effort in San Francisco, Calif.

Most of the team members have been running between 50 to 70 miles per week and performing functional drills to prepare for upcoming meets. Ozan hopes to have the team peak in October or November.

Cerritos College’s top cross country runner Kahssay, who averaged a 5 minute, 9 second mile pace in last week’s meet, said he is ready for the challenge against the defending champs.

“I feel great, I feel in shape and like I am ready to run fast,” Kahssay, who runs 85 miles a week, said. “I plan to do the same stuff–run a lot of mileage, stretch and take it easy a day before the race.”