By Tadzio Garcia
The Huskies opened the season Labor Day weekend at the California State University Fullerton ASICS Cross Country Invitational improving on last year’s times while eyeing the state playoffs.
The meet consisted of NCAA Division I, II, and III teams as well as teams from community colleges. Long Beach State won the men’s 8k run while Loyola Marymount University won the women’s 6k race.
The women’s team improved on last year’s Fullerton times by an average of 1:30 minute per runner.
“Our goal on this course was to improve last years times while breaking 30 minutes,” said returning starter Kimberly Julio, “while running as a team and not as individuals.”
Julio ran the race in 28:10.6 running along side of returning starter Olivia Reyes.
Reyes edged Julio at the finish line clocking in at 28:10.2.
“We did good as a small team,” said Reyes. “We pushed each other. This helps us get stronger together,” said Reyes.
Johana Ceja and newcomer Maria Cruz rounded out the Husky women’s team.
Ceja led the team last year to the state finals where the Huskies finished the day ranked 15th in the state.
“I am looking forward to this season and especially on how far this team can go,” said Ceja.
“We ran short at Fullerton. However the (women’s) team will be joined by more returning starters, as well as incoming freshman,” said Head Coach Louis Ramirez.
“Like last year, the women’s team is training to run their best race at the end of the season,” said Ramirez
Assistant coaches for the 2011 team include David Loera, Enrique Zuniga and Steve Morales.
Ramirez also coached the cross country teams from 1994 – 2004, which includes winning the 2002 men’s state championship as well as a 2002 state runner-up nod for the women’s team.
The Husky 2002 state title is the South Coast Conference’s most recent cross country crown from a men’s or a women’s team.
The Huskies next compete in the Mt. San Antonio College Cross Country Invite this Friday, Sept. 16, at Mt. SAC, beginning at 9 a.m.