By Tadzio Garcia
The men’s and women’s cross country team upset San Diego Christian University at the NAIA West Coast Jamboree at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, last Saturday.
The women’s team placed 13th overall, beating Vanguard University of Costa Mesa and Marymount College of Palos Verdes.
The women’s team was led by Laura Aceves who placed eighth. “She is our first woman to finish in the top 10 in five years of attendance (at this meet),” Head Coach Louis Ramirez said.
ELAC was the only community college competing in a field of four-year universities, which came from as far as Oregon and Arizona.
Guadalupe Yanez, Brianna Lewis, Annai Jimenez and Sandy Bautista rounded out the scoring for the Huskies.
Lewis moved up to the No. 3 spot for East Los Angeles College while Karina Toribio and Amy Herrera rounded out the top seven spots for ELAC.
“The atmosphere at the meet was relaxing and positive, which made it easier to just run and have a good time. It was the perfect race to have before the South Coast Conference finals,” Lewis said.
The Huskies compete in the SCC finals at Heartwell Park in Long Beach on Saturday.
The top seven Huskies from each team have a chance to advance to the postseason.
Kris Chacon, the top runner for the men’s team, had enough kick to sprint ahead of Shane Brinson of Biola University by .09 of a second.
Crisitian Flores, Gonzalo Ceja, upstart Jose Requilme-Colin who scored for the Huskies for the first time this season, Rene Flores and Andrew Torres finished for the Huskies in that order.
The team ran short, but ran an average of 3:20 minutes faster than San Diego Christian to beat them by 75 points.
Ceja is key for the Huskies advancing to the postseason next week. He began the season as the top men’s runner.
“I expected too much from myself (at the Jamboree). I went out fast and confident but hit a wall in the second mile,” Ceja said. “My body felt weak and my stomach had minor cramps. I just need to get … healthy to have a good race next week at the SCC finals.”
The Huskies compete at the Jamboree a week before the conference finals “to learn how to compete with faster runners,” Ramirez said.
Torres will also be key for the men’s team if he can run fast enough to finish in the No. 5 spot for the Huskies.
“Our experiences running against four-year university runners are positive and serve as a proving ground and confidence booster to compete with high level competition. We are ready for the SCC finals,” Torres said.