Runners reach state final for second year in a row

by Tadzio Garcia

The men’s cross country team qualified for the state finals for the second consecutive year out of the SoCal Championships held on Nov. 8 in Santa Clarita.

“We were determined. Nothing was going to stop us. We knew we could beat some key teams at SoCal, and we did,” Gonzalo Ceja said.

The Huskies upset 10 colleges  they lost to at the SoCal Preview in September in dominating fashion by over 100 points from their nearest competitor.

“We knew what was at stake and went for it,” Kris Chacon, ELAC’s No. 2 runner, said.

Ceja placed in the top 20 for the Huskies. Andres De La Cruz, who was on hand to support his brothers, did the same for the Huskies last year.

Ceja was awarded 14th place out of the 199 men who qualified for the SoCal finals. He was temporarily named to the All-Men’s Top 14 team.

Host, College of the Canyons, officials neglected to mention that the posted results were in question.

Robert Pion from Canyons replaced Ceja as the 14th place finisher. Ceja was bumped to 15th place.

“An official misread a runner’s (identifying) number (Pion’s), which later was corrected,” a Canyons official said. “It’s all good. I will get top 14 at state,” Ceja said.

Ceja overcame a season of illness and injuries and placed in the top 20 for the Huskies. Andres De La Cruz did the same for the Huskies last year.

Cristian Flores, Jesse Bonilla and Andrew Torres rounded out the scoring after the top two Husky runners, Ceja and Chacon. Jose Requelme-Colin and Rene Flores also move on to the state finals.

Fresno City College will again host the CCCAA Cross Country State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday. The men’s race begins at 11 a.m.

The San Bernardino Valley College men’s team won their eighth consecutive SoCal championship. They were led by individual men’s champion, Omar Caro.

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