by Tadzio Garcia
The women’s cross counrty team received an at-large bid to the SoCal finals and joins the men’s team in the postseason for the first time since 2005.
Laura Aceves won first place in the women’s race.
The Huskies should advance to the state final in two weeks.
“We compete in the toughest conference in the state,” Coach Louis Ramirez said.
SCC rivals Mt. San Antonio, Los Angeles Trade-Technical, and Cerritos Colleges are ranked in the top-six statewide.
The Huskies advanced to the SoCal Championships at Central Park this Friday at 11 a.m
Sylvia Mosqueda last won a women’s cross country individual title for the Huskies, in 1986. The Huskies were not yet in the SCC.
Aceves won the women’s race by 52 seconds over Evelyn De La Luz of Los Angeles Trade Tech.
“I tried to keep up with her, but she was too fast,” runner-up De La Luz said.
East Los Angeles College ran short because of injuries. Half of the team recently came off injuries to compete in Long Beach.
Ruby Padilla had problems during the race with her previous injury.
“I finished what I started. It was painful but I did it because I was thinking about our team so this would not be the last race of our season,” Padilla said.
Padilla and teammate Amy Herrera ran in a pack the entire race. “She was in obvious pain and I couldn’t let my teammate down so we pushed each other,” Padilla said.
Annai Jimenez and Sandy Bautista also ran in a pack for the Huskies.
With the crowd screaming, the two Husky packs crossed the finish line ahead of four runners from host Long Beach to the dissapointment of the crowd.
Bautista edged Padilla who edged Herrera by 0.01 of a second. Herrera beat Tiffany Pulido of Long Beach by 0.09 of a second.
Brianna Lewis edged Destinie Hernandez of Long Beach by four seconds, also adding to ELAC’s upset of Long Beach.
Aceves extended her distance from the leading pack with each mile although Nichelle Jackson of Mt. San Antonio College led the first half mile.
“I thought I would catch her at the beginning of the second mile, but she came out too fast. I had a strategy to win the race,” Aceves said.