After under performing at the South Coast Conference Championship, on Friday, the Cerritos College Cross Country Program will head back to Irvine Regional Park to compete in the Southern California Championship.
Coach Bryan Ramos stated, “Both the men and women under performed. [The teams] were chasing instead settling into a rhythm and pace.”
The sub-par performance, that took place at Legg Lake Park last Friday, was enough to place both teams into the top five of each race and advance them the SoCal meet.
Womens 5k Race
Despite having had stellar performances first place performance in New York, the women’s cross country team couldn’t pull together the same tenacity and strength.
Freshman, and front runner, Rebecca Harris stated, “It wasn’t our best performance. We lost a bit of focus.”
Harris led the women’s team throughout the race and finished 22 overall with a recorded time of 19:55.
“I personally think I did well,” she said, “I was a bit tired from the hard practices [but] I was happy with the outcome.”
The women were able to pull it together in last leg of the race and block together for a close finish.
Just behind Harris were teammates Sarah Padilla, Adriana Velasco and Briana Gil. Padilla finished in 26 with a recorded time of 20:30, while Velasco and Gil both finished with a time of 20:33 to take the 27 and 28 spots.
Harris continued to say that course was fairly easy for her team and that the team’s coaches prepared them well for this race.
To finish out the scoring for the Falcons was Freshamn Tyler Simpson with a time of 20:43 which placed her 30 overall.
The combined race times and finishes gave the team a total of 115 points just enough to remain in the top five and advancing them into the SoCal Championships.
Men’s 4-mile Race
The men’s cross country team struggled more so than the women having their runners staggered throughout the race rather than running as a team.
Ramos said, “We had no pack running after the first mile and a half. It really hurt our chances to do well [at the race].”
Once again, sophomore Carlos Mendoza was part of the disjointed pack of lead runners.
He was able to finish 13 overall out of 88 competitors.
According to Mendoza mentality for him and his teammates was a big issue.
Mendoza said, “My whole mentality was to stick with our rivals Mt. SAC. So, I took off fast.” It was a decision he later regretted making becuase he messed up in what he said was, “the pack running.”
He continued, “I left my team behind and messed [things up.]”
More than 20 seconds later Mendoza was joined by freshman teammate Abraxaz Sanchez.
Sanchez finished with a time of 21:05.1 putting him in the 23 finishing spot.
Rounding out the scoring top five for the Falcons were runners Jhami Long, Faustino Diaz and Cristhian Macias, who were able to finish with in eight seconds of each other.
“The team fell off after the second mile,” Mendoza said, “That [alone] caused the team to lose their composure].”
Ramos also said, “The men faded during the second portion of the race.”
The team over exteded themselves and ultimately it cost them a top three finished.
Despite the issues the men faced during the race they still pulled together 97 points.
This was enough to keep them in fourth place and advanced to the SoCal Championship.
Mendoza stated, “Overall, we did bad, but we learned a new lesson which was to not take off so fast in the first two miles of a race.”
He finished by saying that they also have work as a team more and not to let anyone fall behind.
Both the men and women teams are to compete at Irvine Regional Park on Friday.
This will be the first time since the beginning of the year that the teams will be returning to the park.
Harris stated, “We aren’t concerned about the course. As long as we stay mentally tough we will esily make is to stay state.”
The last time they competed at this course there were struggles on both ends.
Ramos said, “There were a few things we didnt excute.”
The women took sixth place over all, the men took 12 and both of them struggled to work as a team.
It was a learning experience for both teams.
“Both teams were not engaged and aware of each other. This has to change,” he said.
Now moving into the championship the teams hope that the lessons have been learned.
Friday the true test will be given to the teams.
Ramos said, “We talked about being patient for the men and not going out to fast because of the hill in the second mile.”
A solid top five finish for Cerritos a team state championship hopes alive for both the men and women.
To which Harris said, “We have done pleanty of training and we are ready!”