Men’s cross country brings home second place finish

Monique Nethington

The Cerritos College men’s cross country team was able to pull out a second place finish at the St. Joseph Invitational in Kings Park, New York on Saturday.

Runner Carlos Mendoza said, “It was a really great experience. I had a fantastic time with the team.”

Sticking with the coaching it has been given throughout the season the team was able to have five runners in the top 15 positions.

Mendoza was the first of the team to finish the race and second overall, recording a time of 27:20.1 minutes, just 10 seconds behind the first place finisher.

“It was a bit too late to catch up,” he said, “[in my mind I said] ‘stay at second place and do not let anyone pass me.'”

He went onto say that keeping a strong mentality was what helped him take the second place finish.

The next three runners from Cerritos were close behind all finishing within the same minute as Mendoza.

The second finisher for the team was Abraxaz Sanchez, who clocked a time of 27:40.1 placing him fifth in the competition.

Sanchez said, “We usually stay in a pack but [Mendoza] went ahead, and the last 200 meters is usually every man for himself.”

Finishing in a pack were runners: Cristhian Macias (11th), Faustino Diaz (12th) and Anthony Lopez (13th), all of whom rounded out the top five scoring positions for Cerritos.

“We always talk to each other that’s what we like to focus on,” Sanchez said, “things like that [help] in keeping us compact as a group.”

Even though the team finished second place it was still felt the team could have taken the top spot with a little more push.

“Every single one of us could have passed another person, and we would have tied,” he said.

Sanchez said, “Our speed was kind of fluctuating […] when we should have kept it consistent the whole way.”

The team now looks toward the South Coast Conference Championship, which takes place Oct. 28.

At that race Mt. SAC will be their stiffest competition.

Coach Bryan Ramos said, “[One of] the key things to this race is being aware of where [other teams are.]”

The focus during this “off” week is to train hard and focus on course knowledge.

The location of the course is Legg Lake Park in Whittier.

The course, unlike the rest is completely flat and one of the fastest this season.

“We want to focus on breaking the course down mile by mile,” Ramos said, “It’s as flat as a pancake.”

He continued to say that if the team can stick to the pack running like it has been doing it will increase their position in the standings.

“If we can keep the time between all the finishers under 30 seconds [we could win],” Ramos said.