Smythe leads Broncos to 9th place finish

Cal Poly Pomona’s cross country teams competed in the Capital Cross Challenge at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento on Sept. 28.

The men’s team raced with 34 other teams and placed ninth with an average time of 25 minutes and 1 second. The women’s team raced 39 other teams and placed 16th with an average time of 22:07.

“Today was a good day,” head coach Chris Bradford said. “Women ran well and improved (after) a strong start at San Marcos a few weeks back.”

Senior Eamon Smythe beat his personal best in Saturday’s race, with a time of 24 minutes, 31 seconds. (Courtesy of CSUSM Athletics)

Sophomore Luz Garcia finished first for the Broncos in the college women 6-kilometer invite section race with a time of 21:31. Senior Elizabeth Hernandez placed second in 21:48 minutes. Junior Araseli Servin placed third crossing the line in a personal best of 22:10. Freshmen Pearl Burton and Britney Solis placed fourth and fifth, respectively, for the Broncos in 22:31 and 22:32, with Solis breaking her personal record for 6K by 14 seconds.

“I am pleased with the way I executed (the race), but have much more to improve on moving forward,” Garcia said.

“We still aren’t full strength yet, but I think we will be soon and should be ready (to go) into our championship season,” Bradford said.

The men’s team, while performing better than the previous race, still has some work to do.

“We improved from two weeks ago and are getting better each day,” Bradford said. “They still haven’t shown in a competition what they show in practice, but that will come with time.”

In the college men 8-kilometer invite section race, senior Eamon Smythe finished first for the Broncos and 17th overall in  24:31. Junior Jeremiah Suzara placed second for the team finishing in 25:01 and senior Alejandro Ambrosio placed third with 25:04. Junior Marcelo Ramirez wasn’t far behind finishing in 25:09. Senior Israel Cardona rounded up the scoring five in 25:17 setting a new personal best.

“Some of the guys weren’t feeling up to snuff due to soreness or tired legs, but that’s something we’ll just have to learn to overcome,” Smythe said.

This year Capital Cross served as a preview of the NCAA Division II National Championship since it will be held at Haggin Oaks on Nov. 23. 

The men’s race had 20 DII schools toe the line and the women’s race had 23 DII schools which helped the Broncos see where they stack up against their regional competition.  

On the men’s side, Chico State, UCSD, Cal State San Marcos and Cal Poly Pomona, respectively, swept the West Region and the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

“We always have the goal of winning conference, but this year, when we get our act together, we want to win the regional race and try to get top five in the nation,” Smythe said.

The women placed 16th overall among the DI and DII schools. With an average time of 22:07, they finished sixth in the West Region and fourth in the CCAA behind Chico State, Cal State East Bay and UCSD by only four points. 

The competition was was good practice for the Broncos as they head into their final races before championship season. 

Moving forward, the teams have certain goals to accomplish in their final regular season races.

“I want to continue to work on attaching myself to other runners and maintaining form when things get rough,” Garcia said. “I feel if we can strengthen those skills, then we can be even more dangerous.”

The next cross country meet will be the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational in Claremont on Oct. 12.

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