Cross Country aims for Nationals in Sacramento

The cross country teams are gearing up and training rigorously for their 2019 season, which will kick off next week. 

The teams return from impressive seasons, as the men’s cross country team placed third and the women’s team placed seventh in the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s championships.

The teams are led by head coach Chris Bradford and associate head coach Wes Ashford. Bradford is beginning his third year at Cal Poly Pomona and as head coach for the team. 

Ashford, who is entering his seventh season with the Broncos, is also beginning his third year as the teams’ associate head coach. Bradford and Ashford have the teams, with a combined total of 14 new runners, working hard to prepare for the upcoming season.

The teams’ training includes running high mileage and training in the weight room, under the Broncos’ head strength and conditioning coach, Chase Sanders. 

They implement cross-training by doing aqua jogging workouts at the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex’s (BRIC) pool. 

The training the runners commit to every year varies, according to Bradford, because the group changes and presents different strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest changes to the training regimen each year is the racing courses the teams take. Some years, the races have more hills or turns and some years the race courses  do not. 

 The men’s team has a tougher training program than previous years because the team is more accustomed to the demands of the sport due to being predominantly made up of returning juniors and seniors.

Five of last year’s men’s national championship qualifying team are returning, giving the men’s side a lot of depth.

“The women’s team with nine freshmen can’t train at the same rate as the men’s team,” Bradford said. “The younger runners need more time to grow.” 

Senior Alejandro Ambrosio (right) finished second for the Broncos at the NCAA DII Regional Championship in Monmouth, Oregon with a time of 31 minutes, 54.5 seconds.
(Courtesy of CPP Athletic Department)

Six of the women that competed in last year’s regional championship are returning and planning on making a statement at this year’s regional championship in Monmouth, Oregon.

“[The training] does a lot for the body that you’re not really used to in high school,” freshman kinesiology major Britney Solis said. “It’s a lot to take in.”

Solis is one of the nine freshmen joining the women’s team. She is highlighted by Bradford as one of the new runners who shows a lot of potential to take the team farther than previous seasons.

Five freshmen have been added to the men’s roster, including David Dahl hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On the men’s team, according to Bradford, there is one transfer student joining the team who stands out among the runners: Marcelo Ramirez, a third-year psychology student and a transfer from Glendale Community College.

 “The training is definitely harder,” Ramirez said. “It takes a little time, but I think I’m adjusting.”

The women are looking forward to returning to the national championship after not qualifying last year.

 “The women’s team is training really hard and [is] hoping to compete at the national championship,” Britney Solis said. “We really want to represent Cal Poly at the national level in Sacramento.”

 The first competition of the season will be the Cougar Challenge at Cal State San Marcos on Sept. 13.

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