By Ashley Neckel, Nov. 2, 2021

On Oct. 23 the CPP men’s and women’s cross-country teams dominated the track at the 2021 CCAA Championships in San Marcos, California. With the men’s team racing against eight teams and the women’s team competing against 10, both placed in the top five spots in the overall team category. 

Earning 83 collective points, the CPP men’s team placed second in the men’s overall team category. Senior runner Vincent Sarino led the team once again, placing second individually out of 80 runners in the men’s 8K race.

Sarino is the first CPP cross country runner to place second during a CCAA Championship since Alumnus Mark Huizar in 2014. 

“Going into the race I firmly believed that I was one of the top five best runners in the conference,” said Sarino. “With a second-place finish, it was just a manifestation of my belief in myself.” 

The runners huddle in preparation for the men’s 8K race. (Courtesy of CPP Athletics Department)

Sarino dedicated his success to his teammates and the motivation they instill in each other during training. 

“There were moments in this race where it got really hard and I just looked back to when all my teammates pushed me at practice and how I didn’t want to let anyone down,” said Sarino. “That was my sole motivation for today; just do my part and show I’m in it for the guys so we can get the job done as a team.” 

The women’s team collectively scored 163 points at the meet, placing fifth in the women’s 6k team category. The first of the women’s team to cross the finish line, senior runner Samantha Aguilar landed 13th place in the individual women’s category against 87 other runners. Finishing the championship race at 21 minutes and 24 seconds, Aguilar beat her time after the team’s previous meet by one minute and 17 seconds. Returning to the track this season after a stress fracture recovery, Aguilar was ecstatic to compete in the championship.  

“I went from nothing to competing again, so I’m really happy and just blessed to be here,” said Aguilar. “I’m very proud of where I came from and all the training I put into this race. Right at the finish I thought about the things I went through in the past and how I got here and I was like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to push it.’” 

Although Chico State took first place for the men’s race and Stanislaus State led in the women’s category, the Broncos have had an outstanding season with both teams placing in the top four spots at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational at the previous race on Oct. 9.

With both teams placing in the top five team categories, Head Coach Chris Bradford emphasized the role of the Broncos’ consistent efforts during practices and invitationals in their recent success. Bradford expects the team to demonstrate the same rigor at the upcoming NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 6. 

“All year we focus on the championship races- conference, regionals, nationals… And so, we view the rest of our season building up to this point and I thought we really built into it well and finally put it together,” said Bradford. “I’m most proud of the team coming together and believing in themselves and believing in what they can accomplish and trying to execute that plan.” 

For more information on the CPP cross country teams, visit the CPP Athletics website

Featured image courtesy of CPP Athletics Department

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