By Tadzio Garcia
The East Los Angeles cross country women’s cross country team scored two upset victories against ranked teams while its top runner, sophomore Laura Aceves, took first at the Golden West Invite Saturday in Huntington Beach.
As a result, ELAC moved into the polls as the 14th ranked team in the Southern California.
East Los Angeles College placed eighth outscoring ninth place finisher Palomar College by three points. The Huskies ran over 10th place Fullerton College by 47 points.
“Our women’s team did outstanding beating the 10th (Fullerton) and 12th (Palomar) ranked teams in the state,” ELAC Head Coach Louis Ramirez said.
“The teams that beat us are ranked in the top eight in the state, but we are getting closer to them with each race,” he said.
Aceves won her second consecutive women’s 5-kilometer race this season running 13 seconds faster than Jassmine Macon of the women’s team champion Glendale Community College. As a result Aceves was named to the All-Golden West Invite first team.
Aceves improved on her time from her SoCal Preview win last week, 6.6 seconds faster.
The Invite is a dusty run and a narrow course, at times, especially on bumpy turns. “I ran this course last year so it wasn’t a surprise for me,” Aceves said.
“I expect the unexpected in every race. This is cross country. I know there is (going to) be hills, narrow turns, sand and loose dirt so I am mentally and physically prepared for it,” she said.
The men’s team continued their struggles and placed 15 out of 21 teams. ELAC ran short for the third consecutive week.
“The men ran well missing one of our star runners Aaron Jasso. We expect to keep improving throughout the season,” Ramirez said.
College of the Canyons easily won the men’s title, outdistancing runner-up and South Coast Conference rival Mt. San Antonio College.
Rodrigo Ornelas of Canyons, who won the SoCal Preview race last week, finished first at the Invite. “Our goal is for him to win every race and the state title,” 19-year Canyons Head Coach Lindie Kane said.
Aceves is also training to win a state title, her second consecutive.
“Her preparation includes winning the state while adjusting things throughout the season. This is more important than winning each race,” David Loera, ELAC assistant head coach, said.
Cristian Flores was the only Husky from the men’s team at the Invite to run a faster time then in the previous meet, the SoCal Preview, which was a similar course.
Six Huskies, however, three each from the men’s and women’s teams, finished in the top half of their respective races. “We work and score as a team while we improve on our individual times,” ELAC sophomore Omar Alvarenga said.
Huskies who scored from the 12-member women’s team beginning with the fastest times include Aceves, freshman Stephanie Trelles, freshman Luz Badillo, sophomore Ruby Padilla and freshman Maybell Sanchez.
Running together most of the race and sprinting side-by-side during the last 50 meters, Badillo finished 2/100’s of a second faster than Padilla.
Other Huskies from the men’s team that scored for ELAC included sophomores Andres De La Cruz and Alvarenga as well as freshmen Andrew Perez Daniel Lopez.