Women’s cross country changes the face of ELAC sports

By Tadzio Garcia

Seventeen weeks is all it took for a Husky to change the face of sports at East Los Angeles College. And it happened for the second time.

Laura Aceves, a freshman from the women’s cross country team, became All-American and won three gold medals this season, including an individual state championship.

“A state champion will be a draw for the women’s team in recruiting. Regardless, we’ll be fine, nothing hard work wouldn’t remedy,” Assistant Coach David Loera said.

In 1985, Sylvia Mosqueda also won a state individual title, the SoCal championships and followed that up by winning a conference championship.
ELAC was on everyone’s radar by the end of the cross country season.

“I heard people at meets mention, ‘the East LA team, the East LA runner,’ during the season and all the way to state. It was nice to hear people in the crowd talk about ELAC cross country,” ELAC men’s leading runner Gonzalo Ceja said.

Competing in the South Coast Conference, the toughest in the state with four ranked teams, was not a problem for the Huskies.

The team’s regular season ended with wins over Pasadena City and Long Beach City colleges in the SCC Championships on Sept. 8 in Long Beach to qualify for the postseason, the SoCal finals.

The injury-plagued women’s cross country season ended at the SoCal Championships.

“We were excited to run at SoCal. I ran and got injured, but pushed through to the end in pain because I didn’t want our season to end. When it did, we still congratulated each other for a great season,” ELAC runner Ruby Padilla said.

The Huskies’s goal now is doing well at state next year. “We will get to state next year with work and determination,” Husky Lupe Yanez said.

The Huskies competed in the world’s largest cross country meet, the Mt. San Antonio College Invite.

The team was trying to establish itself as a contender for postseason. They did their job with one of their best results of the season beating ten teams.

To do so, Aceves, Yanez, Brianna Lewis, Melissa Preciado and Karen Almaraz all ran personal bests at that point in the season.

Gone next year will be Lewis and Karinna Toribio. “It was an exciting experience to run for ELAC,” Lewis said.

Padilla returns along with Yanez, Annai Jimenez, Sandy Bautista, Amy Herrera, Cindy Escamilla, Preciado, Ivonne Rodriguez-Dircio and Almaraz.

Aceves will also return. “She is an ideal student. We only had to tell her something once. It was her drive and hard work that built a champion,” Head Coach Luis Ramirez said.

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