For the first time in 11 years, both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s cross country teams raced at the CCCAA State Championships in Fresno on Nov. 17.
Head Coach Armand Crespo emphasized the significance of both teams qualifying for the state championships and the dedication of the athletes.
â€œWe could start a tradition and work our way up the ranks for the men and stay steady with the women,â€ Crespo said.
According to Arielle Barragan-Steimer, Fresnoâ€™s Woodpark was the perfect course with the ideal amount of hills, flatness and width and although it drizzled during the menâ€™s race, the weather was optimal.
The Lancersâ€™ success as a team was most evident in the womenâ€™s 15th place standing at state and 11th in the Southern California championships and with several personal records among the individual athletes.Â â€œWe had a lot of strong personal records and times,â€ said Barragan-Steimer. â€œAs a team we came together and accomplished what we needed to do.â€
Sweat and drive took the menâ€™s team to the state championships, executing great races in all the competitions.
â€œWe were 22nd and we ended up being the 17th Southern California school without our number one runner, who possibly wouldâ€™ve put us 17th overall,â€ said Coach Crespo.
Racing as a team was the continuing principle for the Lancers as the season progressed. The athletes from both the men and women teams were able to cheer each other on. “We felt really teamyâ€ Barragan-Steimer said.
Among the women runners, freshmen stepped up to finish with their best times for the team. â€œKailadnni Chaves ended up being our fifth [woman] with a life-time best, Arielle Barragan-Steimer had a great race almost breaking 20 minutes, and Diane Lombardi had a fantastic race,â€ Crespo said.â€œChristina Shamirian, placing third for us, will be our leader next year and Melissa Hadloc raced hard with Linda Flores-Barillas finishing a fine first season.â€
The course to the championships demanded hard work and the team suffered many setbacks on the way, losing several runners to injuries.
Kevin Cano led the way for the menâ€™s runners with his best race, but Francis Lee did not finish due to a back injury.
â€œOswel Caal ran great to be our third man and Faustino Gil, having the race of his life, was second. Our sophomore team captain, Brian Sacripanti was fourth, with Charlie Camacho finishing a great first season in great fashion,â€ Crespo said.
The team will wrap up cross country for the year and then get ready for track and field. â€œ[we want to] make sure that our athletes are in position to graduate â€¦ and to get scholarship monies for their future,â€ said Crespo.
The track season starts in December with the cross country team combined with coach Wadeâ€™s new team. â€œ[the team] will be a really good mix of sugar and spice. Track is really exciting and more individual,â€ said Barragan-Steimer.