By David Wilson
The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the eighth annual Pomona-Pitzer Invitational at Pomona College. With some of their top runners resting for the playoffs, the Broncos still put in an impressive performance which included the women’s team placing first overall in the 6,000-meter race and an individual top 10 finish in the men’s 8,000-meter race.
In the first race of the day, the men fielded just three runners. Freshman Adrian Diaz was a top performer for the Broncos, finishing seventh overall.
“I tried to position myself at the back of the pack so I wouldn’t go through the first mile too fast and die out,” said Diaz. “I actually didn’t expect to do this well. I expected to be more like 15th or 16th, but being in the top seven was way better than I expected.”
Freshman Thomas Backman and sophomore Brittan Reed made up the rest of the men’s team.
“I think we did pretty well considering our team consisted of two freshman and a sophomore and we’re at the back of the pack for our school,” said Diaz. “I hoped my teammates would be closer to me, but they did as well as they could so that’s all we could ask for.”
Distance coach Wes Ashford saw this meet as a learning experience for Cal Poly Pomona’s young runners.
“Most of them come out of high school only running three races, so this is a big step up for them,” said Ashford. “Learning to run the distance is the big thing, they really have to get the experience of running that extra two to three miles and that’s what they were here for.”
The Broncos ended the meet on a high note with the women’s team finishing first overall with 56 points. Four of Pomona’s 10 runners finished in the top 15 and leading the way was junior runner Elizabeth Olvera who finished fifth overall with a time of 22:32.
“What helped me a lot was my team, they were the ones who pushed me to keep going,” said Olvera. “Representing this school is something very important to me so I knew I had to push myself and push my teammates to do well. It’s a group effort.”
Sophomore Araseli Servin, freshmen Jennifer Osorio-Melendez and Brittani Matthews and junior Casey Monoszlay rounded out Pomona’s top runners finishing 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th respectively.
“We didn’t have our top girls today and I knew we had to step it up and I think overall all the girls did step it up,” said Olvera. “We know what we’re capable of and this showed us that we can compete.”
The cross-country team’s next challenge is the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships that are being hosted by CPP. With some of their top runners set to return, the Broncos look well placed for a successful postseason.
“For where we are in the season, I think they’re performing really well,” said Ashford. “They’re rounding into shape and I think we’re getting ready for the postseason.”
The women’s team appeared especially poised, as the win at Pomona-Pitzer was their second consecutive win after competing in last week’s Lancer Invitational.
“I think it’s going to help them,” said Ashford. “It’s going to get them excited and they’re going to be motivated going into the next race. Our next race is going to be very tough, but I think they’re going to perform well.”
David Wilson / The Poly Post
Women’s cross country team
David Wilson / The Poly Post
Men’s cross country team
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