MONTEREY PARK, CA — Freshman Martin Perez (Norwalk High School) continues the season for the East Los Angeles College men’s cross country team in the CCCAA State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno this Saturday, Nov. 19.
“I’m very happy to represent the Huskies at state,” said Perez. “It was one of my main goals coming into the season.”
Perez keeps an ELAC five-year streak alive of going to state. Last year Andrew Perez qualified. Andrew Perez will compete for the men’s track & field team next semester.
Huskies Christian Flores and Andes De La Cruz competed at state for ELAC in 2014. ELAC sent men’s teams to the 2013 and 2012 state finals. In 2013, the Huskies took 22nd place, edging LA Trade Tech College for the first time in years. In 2012, the Huskies placed 17th.
After a three-year absence running competitive cross country, Martin Perez began the year placing 64th at the SoCal Preview Meet out of 317 men with a time of 22 minutes and 25.1 seconds (22:25.1) on a desert-like course with hills.
“With the break running cross country after high school while in college, I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared to compete at the beginning of the season,” said Martin Perez.
To qualify for state, he needed to break 22 minutes and did just that. He finished the season on the same course running 21:49.8 and good enough for an at-large bid to state.
“The coaches did a great job with giving support and so I improved and reached my goal."
Martin Perez ran a personal best of 21:35.0 at the South Coast Conference Championships hosted by ELAC, on the flat course at Legg Lake Park dubbed as one of the fastest courses in Southern California according to SoCal cross country coaches.
He is a full-time student at ELAC and UCLA as well. He is a pre-med biology major with an emphasis in orthopedics. He is minoring in Chicano studies.
“It’s difficult being a student at both schools,” said Martin Perez. “I have classes and sometimes exams at both schools on the same day. With a schedule that also includes working, with the help of counselors makes, time management makes this all possible.”
In competing for the Huskies, Martin Perez is reunited with his high school mentor, ELAC Head Coach James Maynard.
“I am impressed how he ran and improved all year and am proud that he reached the state championships,” said Maynard. “With their dedication and hard work, the entire men’s team improved an average of two minutes per (individual).”
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia