SAN BERNARDINO, CA — The East Los Angeles College women’s cross country four-member team each ran personal records in the California State University San Bernardino Coyote Challenge against mostly four-year university competition today.
“This was a good opportunity for the team,” said Regina Lopez, ELAC cross country assistant coach. “This boosted their confidence, running with (four-year) university women, so when the (Huskies) transfer, this is not so new to them.”
Without a full five-member team, the Huskies did not score.
All-American CCCAA state champion and former Husky Laura Aceves won the women’s 3-kilometer race in 17:47.49 minutes, a new Coyote Challenge record for the 3K race.
Aceves won the race in the second mile, when she picked up her pace and pulled ahead of the lead-pack by more than a minute. Aceves won by 51.55 seconds.
Freshman Grecia Estrada (Montebello High School) was the top finisher for the Huskies. In two meets this year, she has claimed solid ground on the ELAC’s fastest runner on the team.
Estrada placed first among community college women from ELAC, San Diego Mesa and Victor Valley colleges. She finished the race in 22:15.2 minutes.
In just her second collegiate meet, she ran a personal record in 21:41.05, eclipsing 0:33.15 seconds off her result last week.
With about 50-meters to the finish line, Estrada was in a two-woman sprint, pushed faster and won. She edged Vanguard University junior Lauren Soholt by 1 1/2 seconds.
“I wasn’t nervous running with university competition,” said Estrada. “This was great experience for our team running with faster women. We just want to run faster in every race.”
The remaining Huskies finished one after the other separated only by time. Sophomore Maria Sanchez (Alhambra HS) finished in 28:55.52, less than one second faster than her time in last week’s opening-season meet.
Freshman Ricki Gutierrez (Schurr HS) finished in 29:31.92, 6.9 seconds faster than last week.
Freshman Esmeralda Tlacatelpa (Long Beach Cabrillo HS) finished in 31:49.0 for the Huskies. She knocked off over three minutes of her season-opening time.
After the race, Sanchez and Tlacatelpa danced the Cupid Shuffle with many competitors to the loud DJ’s mixes. “We had our energy back and moved to the music because it’s all about having fun,” said Sanchez.
The Huskies return to action on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Santiago Canyon Invitational at Irvine Regional Park in the City of Orange.
It will be the second time in three meets the Huskies gain valuable experience running the same course as the SoCal Championships to be held in November.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia