Cross country goes all out for Mt. SAC championships

Monica Gallardo, Sports Copy Editor

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A three-week time difference has the cross country team hopeful to top Mt. San Antonio College at the South Coast Conference Championships this Friday.

Sophomore Francisco Ortiz said, “It gives us more time to recover and train hard, so we should be hitting faster times for this upcoming meet.”

Coach Bryan Ramos agreed, “We actually needed the break. Some of our guys were a little bit beat up, so it played in our favor. Everyone is healthy and that’s really what’s important.

“It’s going to be a tough battle with Mt. SAC, but if we stick to what has made us successful in the pack running, then I think we can definitely vie for the title,” he said.

“The key is going to be basically breaking up [Mt. SAC’s] No. 1 and 2 athlete, and our fifth runner has to run really well, but (all the women) have been running really well so I think we have a good chance of doing well in conference.”

Sophomore Ariel Melendez is also looking forward to competing against East Los Angeles College.

“My whole goal is to try to get the top (women) there and see what I’m capable of doing,” she said.

Melendez hopes that the team keeps its relentless mentality for this upcoming meet.

“I believe we, as a team, could accomplish first,” Melendez said.

The women are currently riding a streak of two invitational championships, while the men hope to improve the success from the previous meets.

“Work together and stick together as a team and that way we can come in a better place than last time,” Ortiz said about the team’s preparation.

The team has been drinking more water to increase its persistence and consistency.

“We’ve been cutting down on our workout, definitely doing a lot more anaerobic exercises and we picked up our intensity, cut down on our volume, just getting ready for our conference meet,” Ramos added.

Ortiz said, “The women are looking strong again and you just have to be confident that they put in all the work all season.

“Most of the meets were just preparation. Conference is a big deal, we have a big rivalry with Mt. SAC and after this meet we only run seven runners, so for some of the athletes, this is going to be their last meet for the year.

“This is a conference meet and we pretty much are fighting for a title and that’s pretty important to us. We’re representing our school, not only our team.”