By Tadzio Garcia
Johana Ceja and Valerie Rivas’s cross country season continues even though the team’s season ended after placing sixth at the South Coast Conference Championships last Saturday.
Johana Ceja was named to the South Coast All-Conference first team after sprinting at the finish line ahead of three runners from Mt. San Antonio, LA Trade Tech and Pasadena City colleges by two, three and four seconds, respectively. Rivas, who placed 36th out of 74 runners, and Ceja advance to Friday’s Southern California cross country finals in Ontario. They will compete to advance to the state championships, Nov. 19, in Fresno.
Mt. SAC, one of four SCC women’s team ranked in the Southern California cross country polls, won the women’s SCC Championship title. Robinea McClinton of Compton College won the 5-kilometer individual title with her first place finish.
As a result of McClinton’s victory, the Tartans edged the Huskies by four points for the SCC’s final playoff spot. The Huskies did not qualify for an at-large bid. Twenty-five teams automatically qualify for postseason out of conference finals. A couple other teams receive at-large post-season bids based on results from conference finals and Southern California Preview, a playoff-type meet held Sept. 30 in Ontario.
The final two playoff bids were awarded to Santiago Canyon and Oxnard colleges who beat the Huskies at the SoCal Preview by 12 and 9 points, respectively. The Huskies ran without two of their top runners at the SoCal Preview. East Los Angeles College did not go down without a fight, ending the season in blazing fashion. The Huskies walked away from the SCC finals with smashing victories over Long Beach City (51 points) and El Camino colleges (97 points).
Three Huskies ended their East Los Angeles College cross-country careers at the top of their game. Sara Lujan ended her ELAC cross country run with the fastest time of her career in 24:47.0. minutes; Olivia Reyes raced her last meet with her fastest time of the 2011 season; and, Kimberley Julio retires from the team by scorching 2:41 minutes faster than she did two weeks ago in the Santa Barbara Invitational.
Robin Estrada also ran faster on the Cerritos grass than she did running alongside the ocean in Santa Barbara—by four minutes. Gloria Hernandez and Stephania Perdon ran each meet this season to their best times of the year. Hernandez clipped a whopping 4:32.0 off her initial Husky race and Perdon erased 3:24.0.
Bette Bosch and Maria Cruz topped their previous meet times by 2:08 and 1:29 minutes faster while Linda Alvarado raced to 2:54.3 faster in the SCC finals than her initial race this season. Not to be outdone, Ana Contant ran her fastest time of the year, when it counted most, by 1:49.06.