Early preparation is the men’s cross country team’s key to success at this weekend’s Embry Riddle Invitational in Prescott, Ariz.
Head Coach Bryan Ramos said, “It’s going to be a little tough for the men because they’re not used to running an extra mile for that distance, but we put in the work all through summer, all through the season and they are ready for this level.”
The men have stuck to their normal workout routines and hope to use this meet as a learning experience to train them for longer distances.
“We haven’t done anything different as far as training-wise. Our main focus is on conference, regionals and state so we haven’t really adjusted any of the workouts,” Ramos said.
Sophomore Francisco Ortiz added, “We’ve been drinking a lot of water. It’s going to be a pretty hot, dry environment so we have to be out there prepared. We did long runs, running in packs together so we can create a better impact on our racing. We’ve been doing core workouts, stretches and cardio.”
Ortiz expects to use the experience from the SoCal Preview Meet as fuel for this upcoming race. “We expect to do better in the upcoming races and we still have a lot of time for a lot of things to improve.”
Coach Ramos said, “We did run an 8-K at [the] Mark Covert Open [in Brea] and my expectations for them is obviously to run better times than what they did. Opening an 8-K is pretty difficult, especially for the freshmen, but now they’ve put in their miles and I think they’re ready to run the 8-K distance.”
Ortiz plans for his team to “stay as a pack, encourage each other running and just stay focused and do your thing, do your job.”
Their last meet was on Sept. 26 at the Golden West Invitational in Huntington Park where they collectively scored 203 points, earning eighth place. Orange Coast College snatched the seventh spot from Cerritos with 200 points.
Sophomore Anthony Lozano was the team’s top runner with a time of 20:37.0, earning 12th place, while Ortiz came behind him at 20:54.4, earning 16th place.
The cross country team will leave to Ariz. this Friday at 6 a.m. and will return promptly after the meet on Saturday.
They will compete in the Brubaker Invitational at Irvine Regional Park on Oct. 10.