This past Friday the Crawford XC team competed in the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational. This meet is the largest meet in the western hemisphere, with races starting every 7 minutes for 24 hours. Its’ slogan, “Where the world’s best athletes compete,” is well know across the USA. Due to extreme heat during the races, the race directors shortened the distance for all divisions except varsity to 2 Miles. The complete course has 3 very challenging hills which makes this course one of the toughest in the country.
With the exception of Senior Marlon Jimenez, Crawford boys got stuck in a difficult bottle-neck start and struggled to catch up throughout the race. Marlon was a standout in this race by finishing 37th out of 317 runners. “Marlon is making huge strides towards the top 7. He was injured the first half of the season but he stayed strong mentally by committing to cross training for the last 8 weeks. I see him fighting for a spot on varsity by league finals,” said Coach Venancio.
“Rodrigo Luna has only been out for two weeks but showed he is a talented athlete. I loved seeing the Freshmen boys race, because they respond very well when I tell them to pass opponents,” Coach Venancio.
On the lady’s side, Amina Sharif made a huge leap into her fitness. She brought down her mile pace by 3 minutes/mile for a great race on the 2 mile course. Ruby Dircio and Vanessa Munguia were also very tough today. Ruby ran the entire course and climbed 3 big hills with the heat.
Captain Ruby Dircio commented, “This weekend’s invitational was one of the toughest courses we’ve ever ran, however the boys performed very well and it was exciting for a few of our girls to be able to experience an invitational for the first time.”
The varsity boys finished 5th out of 21 teams in the D4 race, finishing only 1 point away from 4th. Sophomore Arturo Sandoval closed the gap between the team’s scoring top 5 to a mere 50 seconds spread. “This was Arturo’s second race of the season after a long summer. I was surprised 5 months ago when he said this was his first sport. He has great running economy that could make him into one of the best runners in the county in a couple of years. If we can get our pack of runners to move 40-50 seconds faster by CIF, we will have a chance to make the State Meet. Arturo placed us in that position. I am hoping our periodization goes well in the next 4 weeks so we can aspire to such feat,” said coach Venancio.
Captain Erik Cisneros also commented, “this was one of the toughest meets yet, with the multiple hills and the number of schools that we faced. I feel we did a good job as individuals and also as a team.”
The team ended their trip by taking a tour of the prestigious UC Irvine, led by Mirella Cruz, a fellow City Heights runner and Hoover alum. Freshmen Andres Beltran said, “UCI has become one of my top college choices after this visit.”
Stay tuned as the team races Morse and Lincoln this Tuesday.