The men’s cross country team finished in fourth place and the women’s team finished in last place at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday at Prado Park.
The men’s team finished with a team average time of 26:59.41 and with a total team time of 2:14:57.03. The women’s team finished with a team average time of 26:47.11 and a total team time of 2:13:55.51.
Sophomore Bryan Hayes and senior Cristobal Gutierrez placed in the top ten for La Verne. Hayes finished the 8,000-meter course in 26:02.64, placing fifth and Gutierrez finished in 26:32.12 placing ninth, earning both first-team all-SCIAC honors.
“The men’s team showed a lot of good improvement today,” head coach Bryan George said. “Showing positive steps in the right direction, although it isn’t perfect, but still good steps.”
Juniors John Guzman and Colin Smith of Occidental took an early lead in the race with sophomore Zorg Loustalet right behind them. But Guzman and Smith managed to keep the lead placing first and second.
Although they came in first, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the competition followed by Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental.
“The course was tough and deceivingly slow,” junior kinesiology major Jayden Earlywine said. “There are a lot of rolling hills and the grass is thick.”
Other runners such as freshman Tanner Long came in 25th, senior Alberto Acosta came in closely behind in 27th and sophomore Jahi Gains finished 36th, juniors Earlywine and Ted Breslow finished 41st and 62nd, respectively.
The women’s race followed, running a 6,000-meter course.
Junior Andrea Ramirez led the Leopards finishing in 47th place with a time of 25:46.02.
Seniors Shelby Sato and Yanet Urciaga came in 56th and 60th, respectively. Freshman Jacquie Scherrer came in 67th, Kamalei Lee in at 72nd and Andrea Valdez and Summer O’Brien were 81st and 107th, respectively.
“Andrea and Jacquie both ran very well today,” George said. “I’m very pleased with their results.”
Seniors Adele Eslinger and Allison Barnwell of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took an early lead in the race but senior Melissa Skiba of Cal Lutheran came in behind finishing first in the race.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps came in first, followed by Occidental and Cal Lutheran.
“We’re all recovering from different step backs,” junior kinesiology major Andrea Ramirez said. “So we just need to focus on being healthy and prepare for regionals.”
The NCAA West Region Championships are what all the runners are looking forward to and will start preparing for as soon as possible.
“For regionals, we just need to keep everyone healthy and maintain our focus,” George said. “It’s been a long season and our younger runners are easily burned out so we just need to work a little harder.”
Next up for the team is the NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 16 in Claremont. The top two teams automatically qualify for the NCAA national championships in Hanover, Ind. on Nov. 23 and top seven individuals not on a qualifying team will also make the trip.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.