By Tadzio Garcia
The No. 14 men’s cross country team has been making headlines all season. Move over men, the women’s team has arrived—again.
For possibly the first time in ELAC history, the women’s team won its second championship title in one season.
The Huskies won the Annual San Diego Invitational last Saturday.
Results included the first place Huskies, who scored 39 points, outrunning runner-up San Diego Mesa College (47 points), third place San Diego City College (64 points) and fourth place Imperial Valley College (76 points) and Grossmont College (138 points).
Megan Magdaleno placed third for the second time this season, running in 20:57 minutes in the three mile race.
She was followed by Kattie Padilla, who took 5th in 21:48 and Gloria Hernandez (22:13) who edged teammate Linda Alvarado (22:18) for 8th place.
All four were named to the women’s All-SD Invitational Top-10 Team.
“Kattie Padilla is the ELAC athlete of the meet,” Head Coach Louis Ramirez said.
“She ran close to her fastest time on a course that’s about a minute slower because it’s all on grass.”
Rounding out the score for the Huskies was Valerie Rivas who placed 14th in 23:12.
Brianna Lewis and Karina Toribio clocked in at 23:23 (15th) and 25:21 (27th), respectively. They were followed by Vanessa Buelna who finished in 26:12 (33rd) and Xochitl Quintanilla who clocked in at 30:14 (47th).
The men’s team took third place overall with 69 points running without four men but still grabbing two top ten spots.
The were beaten by San Diego Mesa College (24 points) and South Coast Conference rival Long Beach City College (54 points). As a result, LBCC jumped ahead of the Huskies in the SoCal poll ranked No. 13.
Kris Chacon ran with the top men’s pack the entire race did not let up at the finish to take fourth place in 22:03. Chacon was followed by Gonzalo Ceja, who placed ninth in 22:23.
“Every step of this course was difficult and a challenge. I am pleased with my results of keeping a pace that kept me eighth most of the race. I just didn’t have any kick left at the sprint and placed ninth,” said Ceja.
Ceja and Chacon were named to the men’s All-SD Invitational Top-10 Team. “It felt fantastic, but I care about the team more than my individual results,” said Ceja.
Twins Aaron (23:10) and Oscar (23:35) Jasso worked the course to sprint strong taking 16th and 21st, respectively.
Daniel Fernandez outran his pack at the finish line to place No. 22 in 23:41 followed by Michael Vallejos (25th, 24:02). Juan Rodriguez (24:33) outsprinted Saul Lara of San Diego City by three seconds to place 26th.
Rounding out the Husky pack was Carlos Segovia (30th, 24:48) and Omar Alvarenga (24:56). Alvarenga sprinted strong edging Tanner Perfect of Cuyamaca College by one second for 31st place.
Carlos Lopez finished in 25:33 (33rd) followed by Andrew Torres (39th, 25:53).
Both teams race in the Mt. SAC Invitational on Friday, beginning at 9:15 a.m.
The course is “one of the oldest and most famed courses in the world, challenging a generation of runners against each other,” according to the Mt. SAC website.
At full strength, the Huskies could be a challenge to colleges as far away as Arizona.