The men’s cross country meet kicks up dust

East Los Angeles College cross country team sophomore Raymond Rascon competes in the Covert Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of A. Ruiz)
East Los Angeles College cross country team sophomore Raymond Rascon competes in the Covert Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of A. Ruiz)

BREA, CA — The season opening meet of the East Los Angeles College men’s cross country began 30 minutes early without proper notice. Only two Huskies were able to compete.“The start time changed…30 minutes early. There wasn't an announcement about that until 10 minutes before,” said ELAC men’s cross-country head coach James Maynard. “Only two of our guys made the starting line. Neither were properly warmed up so they ran below their ability. The (Cal State) Fullerton coach is returning our entry fee. We'll consider this a lesson learned but not a meet.”

Cal State Fullerton won the 2017 Mark Covert Classic Cross Country Invitational men’s 8k race, held at Carbon Canyon Regional Park today. Since ELAC did not sport a full team the Huskies did not score.

“I was pretty upset,” said ELAC sophomore Matthew Ruiz (Bell Gardens High School). “We trained so hard in the summer to get ready for this season. If a school…hosts a meet, they should remind (other schools) if they are going to make changes. This shouldn’t happen again!”

ELAC sophomore’s Raymond Rascon (Pioneer HS) and Pablo Hernandez (Downtown Magnets HS) were close enough to the start line to run in the race.

Nearing the final turn to the finish line, Rascon ran side-by-side with sophomore Patrick Bruce of the University of San Diego. Rascon picked up his pace in a sprint 400 meters before the finish.

“I passed him right before the last turn to the finish line…(with) an early (sprint) to see where I could position myself. That put a lot of stress on my legs and caused me to slow down,” said Rascon. “When I saw him pass me and saw how close the finish line was, I knew I had to pass him to get my position back.”

“I had to put more stress on my legs to catch and to pass him and did with determination, but my legs went numb,” said Rascon.

Rascon pumped his legs so hard he crossed the finish line in front of the four-year university athlete eight seconds faster.

Hernandez took the last turn in a mad dash alongside four runners. He paced himself with enough fuel to out-sprint the other three men.

“I feel that the 8k could have been better if I had a proper warm up and stretch,” said Hernandez. “I had…five minutes to put on my uniform and didn't warm up and stretch.”

The team returns to action in two weeks at the CCCAA Southern California Preview meet at Central Park in Santa Clarita, California.

Central Park is located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita CA. 91350.

The men’s 5k race begins at 11 a.m. The Huskies women’s team races at 10 a.m. More than 500 athletes will compete in the meet.



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