SANTA CLARITA, CA — For the eighth consecutive year, the East Los Angeles College men’s cross country team competed in the Southern California Cross Country Championships, this year at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
ELAC got an at-large bid to SoCal based on their overall team time at the South Coast Conference Championships last week, which was the final meet of the regular season.
“I’m amazed and excited,” said ELAC Head Coach James Maynard upon receiving the news.The Huskies finished eighth out of eight teams at the SCC finals. All eight teams received SoCal bids.
At SoCal, the SCC teams placed 1, 3, 6, 7, 13, 20, 22 and 28. The Huskies placed 28th, but five Huskies ran to their fastest times of the year. The seven Huskies that competed knocked off an average of 31.8 seconds per man.
Three ELAC sophomores ran personal records in their second straight meet. Nathan Rangel (Montebello High School), ELAC’s top runner, finished in 23:45.2. Near the end of the 4-mile race, Rangel ran neck-and-neck with Bakersfield sophomore Benedict Carlson and won by one-and-a-half seconds faster with a sprint at the finish line.
Sophomore Jonathan Pedroza (Garfield HS) also ran two personal records both last week and today. At Mt. SAC he ran beat his previous record in 25:22.3 and today bested that time by almost 30 seconds in 24:52.5. Pedroza has knocked off more than a minute from his season opening time.
Freshman Kevin Garcia (Reedley HS) finished just behind Pedroza in 25:04.5. Garcia ran his fastest time of the season at the Mt. SAC Invite earlier in the season in 24:33.1 and was the fastest freshman on the team in every meet.
Sophomore Raymond Rascon (Pioneer HS) finished his ELAC cross country career with a personal record in 25:59.2 at SoCal. The Huskies competed in two 5-mile races earlier this year and Rascon improved 2-1/2 minutes in the second five miler.
Freshman Andrew Mora-Duran (South East HS) rounded out the scoring for the Huskies with a lifetime best time of 26:48.5. Mora-Duran ran almost three minutes faster than his previous best time, which makes him the most improved Husky on the team.
Sophomore Matthew Ruiz (Bell Gardens HS) finished this year just as he did last year, with a personal record. Last week at Mt. SAC he ran a season best time a minute faster than his previous fastest. Today, Ruiz knocked off almost another minute for his second season best time in two weeks.
It was a great run this year for the Huskies. They improved with each race and did the impossible at the SCC finals. They received a bid to SoCal out of the toughest conference in the state, according to team times.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
submitted by Tadzio Garcia