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Cross country makes great strides at invite

Junior Alex Forbess (center), one of La Verne’s top runners, finished in ninth place with a time of 25:38.4 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday. The men’s cross country team earned fourth place overall at the invitational. La Verne’s top woman finisher was junior Micaela Castillo, who finished in 35th place with a time of 23:13.4 to lead the women to a 13th place finish. / photo by Danielle Navarro

Grace Casale
Staff Writer

The cross country men’s team finished in fourth place, setting two school records, while the women’s team finished 13th Saturday.

After a three week break, the men’s team finished with a team average of 26:24.98 and with a total team time of 2:12:04.90.

Out of a total of 181 male runners, junior Alex Forbess came in the top 15 in ninth place and was given recognition as well as a hat as congratulations for his great accomplishment.

“Overall we did very well and our times have been going down which is great,” Licon said. “Alex ran 25:38, which is a new personal record from him.”

Pomona-Pitzer held its third annual Cross Country Invitational for both men and women’s teams, hosting 13 different schools for the men and 15 for the women.

Unattached runners, those not affiliated with any university, also participated.

The race was held on the Pomona College campus course through the Wash, which is also where the men’s and women’s NCAA West Regional competitions will be held in a few weeks.

The men started off the morning first at 7:45 a.m., running an eight kilometer race around the course that was set for them.

Other runners such as sophomore A.J. Licon came in 23rd and senior Matthew Sustayta came in at 36th place.

“This team has really great chemistry between both the men and women’s teams,” senior Michael Sacoto said. “We hang out together as much as we can. We do not have any division and I think are one of the tightest teams on campus.”

Forbess said he was nervous before the race but felt great afterward because he felt that he ran smart and tried to stay with Occidental’s No. 2 runner.

After the men, the women started their race at 8:30 a.m., running a six kilometer race.

Out of a total of 201 women runners, junior Micaela Castillo came in 35th and right behind her was sophomore Katie Barrese, who came in 39th.

“I think our team has improved and we each have set new personal records,” Barrese said. “Also, we had a race plan before the game and I think we each followed it well.”

Assistant coach Erin Cvengros had wonderful things to say about the women.

She said she has seen much progress and growth in the runners who have been able to beat their own personal records.

“Both teams ran tired but well,” coach Michael Atwood said. “We need to continue to work on our weaknesses, but overall they each accomplished all the goals we set as a team and I am super excited for them.”

Atwood explained that this season will be a close one in terms of who could win the Southern California Intercolleg­iate Athletic Conference.

SCIAC is stacked with four good schools – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Occidental, Pomona-Pitzer and La Verne.

Each of the schools are ranked in the top 10 of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region poll for men’s teams.

La Verne is ranked eighth.

The men’s and women’s teams next race will be on Oct. 15 at the SCIAC Multi-Dual Meet at La Mirada Park.

The men start things off at 8:30 a.m. followed by the women at 9:15 a.m.

Grace Casale can be reached at grace.casale@laverne.edu.

Related posts:

  1. Cross country sprints into action
  2. Cross country competes in NCAA Regionals
  3. Cross country finishes 7th in West Regionals
  4. Men travel cross country for NCAA nationals
  5. Cross country runners finish strong at SCIAC championships

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