SOUTH EL MONTE, CA — In order to qualify for the postseason, the five top Huskies from the 11-member East Los Angeles College men’s cross country team needed to run their fastest 4-milers of the season at the South Coast Conference finals today.
The Huskies did better than that. The entire ELAC team ran personal records in their last meet of the regular season, an unofficial school record, and qualified to the Southern California Cross Country Championships for the 7th-consecutive year, the 14th time this millennium.
“They were all mentally and physically prepared,” said James Maynard, ELAC cross country head coach. “They knew the course because they’ve run there for five years.”
ELAC placed fifth in the SCC finals, which it hosted at Legg Lake in South El Monte. Their average times were fast enough to continue their season with an at-large bid to SoCal.
The SoCal finals are on Friday, Nov. 4 at Irvine Regional Park in Orange.
Mt. San Antonio College won the SCC title with an average time of 20:08 minutes per Mountie. El Camino College placed second (20:56), Pasadena City College third (21:19), Cerritos College fourth (21:27), ELAC fifth (22:12), Chaffey College sixth (22:47) and Long Beach City College was seventh (22:57).
ELAC’s average time per Husky is the most improvement of SCC teams since the SoCal Preview Meet on Sept. 16.
The SCC is the strongest conferences in the state according to the rankings. Three SCC teams are ranked statewide, Mt. SAC (#2), Cerritos (#11) and El Camino (#13) and Pasadena is ranked in the SoCal poll.
ELAC freshman Martin Perez (Norwalk High School) placed 20th. He was behind a Mt. SAC athlete as he turned the corner for the final 100-meters and both men began their final sprint. Perez passed the Mountie with three meters from the finish line.
“I passed him just before the finish line,” said Perez. “I’m excited we made it to SoCal. We will have much better results than our SoCal Preview results.”
Advancing to SoCal are Perez, who ran 21:35.0, more than a half of a minute faster than his previous best, Nathan Rangel (Montebello HS) who clocked in at 21:52.0, 1:41.05 minutes faster from his previous best and Raymond Rascon (Pioneer HS) who ran 22:14.0 who bested his previous fastest time by 54 seconds.
Also, Jonathan Pedroza (Garfield HS) and Allen Au Yeung (San Gabriel HS). Pedroza finished in 22:37.1, a personal best by more than a minute and Yeung ran a personal record of 22:45.0, 1:45 faster. Victor Jauregui (Montebello HS) and David Torres (Schurr HS) ran personal records of 22:57.0 and 23:21.0, respectively, and move on to SoCal even though they did not score.
Other ELAC results included freshman Anthony Jovel (Bell Gardens HS) completed his two-sport Husky career with a personal record of 24:10.0 by more than a minute and a half faster. Jovel will transfer to Cal State Long Beach where he will begin classes next semester.
“The transfer is bittersweet,” said Jovel, “But I’m happy I competed this season with this team.” Jovel’s major is kinesiology with an emphasis on athletic training. He plans to complete his internship athletic training hours at ELAC.
Sophomore Rene Flores (Garfield HS) broke the 25-minute mark for the second time this season by crossing the finish line in 24:46.0. Flores also ended his two-sport career at ELAC with a personal record.
Freshman Pablo Hernandez (Downtown Magnets HS) finished his first season with the team with a 25:25.0, a personal best of more than two and a half minutes.
Matthew Ruiz (Bell Gardens) ran 25:25.0 more than four minutes faster than his previous best 4-mile race. “It felt very good to finish with a PR,” said Ruiz. “We all work so hard as a team.”
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia