The cross country teams placed fourth at their first competition, the Cougar Challenge, at Cal State San Marcos last Friday.
The competition was hosted by the Cougars’ men’s team and welcomed University of California, San Diego, Queens University of Charlotte, Hawai’i Pacific University, Azusa Pacific University and Cal State San Bernardino alongside Cal Poly Pomona.
The Broncos’ top runners in the competition were senior Elizabeth Hernandez (fourth place) with a time of 21 minutes, 18.2 seconds, sophomore Luz Garcia (fifth) with 21:29.3, sophomore Elli Kliewer (17th) with 21:59.6, freshman Pearl Burton (21st) with 22:10.2 and freshman Britney Solis (33rd) with 22:48.6.
“The women’s team did very well,” head coach Chris Bradford said. “The two teams placed fourth behind Queens of North Carolina, who placed ninth in the country last year. It was a really solid start.”
The women’s competition included all seven universities. UC San Diego placed first with 49 points. Cal State San Marcos followed that with 50 points and Queens University took third with 75 points.
CPP placed fourth out of the seven teams with 76 points.
“We got a good spot in the race and followed through on it and did really well,” Garcia said.
APU took fifth with 122 points, Cal State San Bernardino followed with 156 points and HPU finished seventh with 188 points.
On the men’s team, the top runners were senior Alejandro Ambrosio (eighth place) with a time of 24 minutes, 35.2 seconds, junior Jeremiah Suzara (14th) with 24:53.9, sophomore Vincent Sarino (19th) 25:09.3, senior Eamon Smythe (21st) with 25:15.3 and junior Marcelo Ramirez (23rd) with 25:15.3.
“The guys, they did OK,” Bradford said. “I think we got a long way to go. There’s more things that we need to keep working on there.”
The men’s competition included all universities except San Bernardino.
The Cougars took the win with 33 points, followed by Queens University with 47 points, UC San Diego with 61 points and, in fourth place, CPP with 85 points.
“Teamwise, I think we have a lot to work on,” Ambrosio said. “We have some of our guys coming off injury, so it wasn’t really like the full team. I think we definitely have a lot to work on to get to accomplish our goal.”
HPU followed CPP with 144 points and APU took sixth with 163 points.
Following the competition, the teams will continue to train in anticipation of the next competition.
“The training is fluid, so yeah, there are different things that we saw that we need to work on,” Bradford said.
Bradford is confident in the teams this year and is looking forward to the next meet in two weeks, which is a national preview meet.
The next competition will be the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento, hosted by Sacramento State University on Sept. 28.
“I think the fitness should be there,” Garcia said. “The goal should be execution to do better in the race.”
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