By Dennis Erturk
Both men’s and women’s cross country ended their 2016 seasons on Saturday when they competed in the Division II National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in Saint Leo, Florida.
The trip to Saint Leo, more than 2,000 miles away from Cal Poly Pomona, was the end of the road for the cross country athletes.
However, some of the runners from both the men’s and women’s teams were encouraged by their teammates as well as their own performances throughout the course of the season, which started on Sept. 17 at the UC Riverside Invitational.
Lorraine Fernandez, a junior psychology major, overcame major obstacles after suffering a severe injury almost a year ago that forced her to miss most of last season.
“Individually, I didn’t even think I was going to race in nationals because I was injured,” said Fernandez. “I was finally able to PR [personal record] and we progressed as a team. We weren’t ever that close to nationals before, so this season was a good one for us.”
Although the women placed 19th as a team, they made history by becoming just the third squad in program history to reach the national championships.
Fernandez was the top runner for the women’s program, finishing at 21: 45. 9. As a result, she now sits at 6th all-time on the CPP leader board for the 6,000-meter.
The men’s team placed 8th overall in the 10,000-meter to match its best finish at nationals dating back to 1997.
Junior Ruben Dominguez led the way for the men and finished 23rd overall individually. His performance at this year’s national championships earned Dominguez the status of All-American, accomplishing the feat for the first time in his career. Dominguez ended the race with a time of 30: 59. 6.
Throughout the season, the men’s team had to climb a few obstacles as one of their runners, Christian Rodriguez, battled through lower leg injuries.
Looking back on the season, however, Dominguez was proud of the way his squad was able to compete and end the season 8th overall in the Division II National Championships.
“It was a rough season, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of injuries, a lot of wins and losses. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish, although some of my teammates wish things would’ve gone a little differently,” said Dominguez.
While some of the school’s runners might be disappointed after the national championships, there is no question that another strong season followed by an appearance at nationals will not be out of the picture for the Broncos in the near future.
Courtesy of Bronco Athletics
The cross country teams in Saint Leo, Florida
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