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Freshman Daria Ayala pulls ahead of the pack she was in at the Golden West Cross Country Invite. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)
Freshman Daria Ayala pulls ahead of the pack she was in at the Golden West Cross Country Invite. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)

ELAC women’s cross country building momentum

Huntington Beach, Calif. - The East Los Angeles College women’s cross country team competed in the toughest course of the early season at the Golden West Invitational at Central Park in Huntington Beach.

It is the first time this season that the Huskies competed on a hilly course, which proved successful with respectable times.

Saddleback College won the women’s 5k race in a landslide taking five of the first 12 spots. The Lady Gauchos dominated the All-Invitational’s Women’s Team. ELAC sported a three-member team and did not score, short two members.

“The team responded well to the hills with their times,” said ELAC first-year head coach Kathryn Kelly. “They are improving gradually with each meet and will continue to progress and be ready in two weeks at the Pomona-Pitzer College Invitational.”

Sophomore Kattie Padilla (Montebello High School), the top ELAC runner and a Psychology major, finished in 23:34 minutes. She was neck-and-neck with Orange Coast freshman Stephanie Valentin coming into the final turn. Padilla took of in a hard sprint in the final 100-meters to win by four seconds. “The hills were difficult,” said Padilla. “I just pushed myself to get through them and had enough left for a long sprint.”

Freshman Tahlia Adams (Eleanor Roosevelt HS), a CSI Technology Micro Computers major, flew by Golden West freshman Rosemary Cabral to finish four seconds faster. Adams said she paced herself throughout the race to from the start to the end, which paid off with her burst of a finish in the final 150-meters.

Freshman Daria Ayala (Bravo Medical Magnet HS), who is majoring in Business Administration, pulled ahead of Norco College freshman Yasaman Mosavi with 400-meters left and sprinted after the final turn, 100-meters to the finish line. Ayala finished ahead of Mosavi with nine seconds to spare.

“It’s all about how willing you are to focus and push yourself,” said Ayala. “Not only on when it’s hard on the legs, like the hilly middle was, but through to the end on the flat surfaces.”

“The coach prepares us well with harder workouts each week, which builds our confidence more and more,” said Ayala.

The Huskies next compete in the sixth annual Pomona-Pitzer Invite, Saturday Oct. 6 at 8 a.m. in Pomona. ELAC will run against four-year university competition.

Follow ELAC Athletics at or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).

submitted by Tadzio Garcia