SAN BERNARDINO, CA mdash; The East Los Angeles College women’s cross country hosted the South Coast Conference Championships at Legg Lake in South El Monte. As a result, half the team, one Husky, moves on to the postseason. Freshman Grecia Estrada (Montebello High School) advances to the Southern California Championships because of her Top 25 SCC finals finish with a time of 20:10.0 minutes.
Estrada placed 23rd, nine seconds faster than Mt. San Antonio College freshman Maria Castello did. As the two were approaching the final turn, 100-meters to the finish line, Estrada moved into a sprint. She crossed the line supported loudly by the ELAC men’s team.
No. 2-statewide ranked Mt. SAC won the women’s title. No. 14 LA Harbor College took second place. Without a full five-member team, ELAC’s two-woman roster was not eligible to score.
ELAC freshman Rickie Gutierrez (Schurr HS) finished her first year with a personal record erasing 54 seconds from her previous faster 3-miler (5k race). She clocked in at 25:27.0. She paced herself with enough gas to sprint the last 150 meters.
Gutierrez began the season with a time of 29:38.1. The following week she ran her first personal record of the season, 29:32.0 competing against mostly four-year university women.
In the Huskies’ third meet, the Santiago Canyon invitational, Gutierrez ran the hilly course in 31:32.9, but more importantly, she was the second fastest Husky of four women, claiming the No. 2 spot on the team.
A week later on Oct. 7, Gutierrez ran her second personal record, 26:20.7, at the San Bernardino Valley College Invitational. Her new record was more than three minutes faster.
“We work hard to get this kind of result with a goal of improving more,” said Gutierrez.
According to James Maynard ELAC cross country head coach, Gutierrez’s results was a combination of hard work and being mentally prepared while getting physically stronger each week.
Estrada competes at the SoCal Regional Cross Country Championships on Friday, Nov. 4 at Irvine Regional Park in Orange. It will be the third time this season Estrada will race on this course.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia