The men’s cross country team finished in sixth place and the women’s team finished in 11th place Saturday at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
The men’s team finished with a team average of 26:44.98 and with a total team time of 2:13:44.90.
Out of a total of 165 male runners, sophomore Bryan Hayes placed ninth for La Verne.
This was Hayes’ first top 10 finish of the season.
Last season, Hayes earned All-Conference honors as a freshman with a top 20 finish at the 2012 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
“The team did good today,” Hayes said. “We could use a little more improvement but I’m proud that we did well.”
Pomona-Pitzer held its third annual cross country invitational for both men and women’s teams, hosting 13 different schools for the men and 12 for the women.
Unattached runners also participated in the invitational.
The men started off running an 8,000-meter race around the course that was set for them around the Pomona-Pitzer campus.
Hayes managed to have the lead within the first two miles but fell behind Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Poly Pomona.
Sophomore Steven Ing of Cal State San Marcos took the lead with 300 meters to go but senior John Carrell of Cal Poly Pomona passed him and finished in first place.
Cal Poly Pomona won the competition followed by Pomona-Pitzer and Cal State San Marcos.
“I felt that we were too aggressive on the men’s side but it was a narrow and challenging course,” head coach Bryan George said. “We went a little too hard and it hurt us in the second half.”
Other runners such as freshman Tanner Long came in 32nd, senior Alberto Acosta placed 44th and junior Ted Breslow finished 69th.
“We had good points in the race but I feel that it allows us to push even harder,” Hayes said. “Whittier beat us and we can beat them because we have before so it gives us that little extra push for next time.”
The women’s race followed, running a 6,000-meter course.
Senior Shelby Sato led the Leopards finishing in 69th place with a time of 25:16.5.
“I felt that we did okay but not as well as I wanted too but still happy,” Sato said. “As a team we did good even though we have girls hurt but we still did pretty well.”
Other runners for La Verne such as senior Yanet Urciaga came in behind her with a time of 25:40.8 placing 73rd, followed by freshman Jacquie Scherrer at 81st with 26:04.7.
“I’m very pleased with the women’s race today,” George said. “The freshmen were doing well and pushed forward.”
Cal State San Marcos led in the first mile of the race and for a while there were no change in leads.
Junior Kate Bouvatte and senior Heidi Swanson of Cal State San Marcos led the pack for the first two miles.
As the race finished, it was a battle for first at the last turn of the course.
Freshman Kelly Collins of Westmont had the lead but fell back to senior Ayded Reyes of Cal State San Marcos and Bouvatte.
Cal State San Marcos won the competition as Reyes came in first for the Cougars.
“I felt that it was a good race for both the men and women,” George said. “We had good packs for both and now it’s time to execute a race plan for the next.”
Next race for the Leopards cross-country team will be at the SCIAC Multi-Duals competition with the women starting off at 4:30 p.m. followed by the men at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 18 at La Mirada Park.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.