FRESNO, Calif. - In two of the closest 1-2 team finishes in the history of California Community College Cross Country Championships, Mt. San Antonio College’s Mounties prevailed. The women outpointed Cuyamaca, 93-95, with Ventura a close third at 103. The Mt. SAC men got by defending champ Riverside, 60-65, with Los Angeles Harbor a distant third at 136 on a beautiful and clear Fall day at Fresno’s Woodward Park.
Ironically, Mt. SAC was involved in the last two closest races. RCC’s men outpointed the Mounties, 87-89, in 1994 and the women edged Los Angeles Mission, 82-83, in 1996.
This latest Mt. SAC women’s victory was the ninth in school history and the fifth for head coach Doug Todd. The Mounties balance showed as none of their runners were in the Top 14. They bundled the win as Maria Castello (19:07.0), 14th, and Teresa Castillo (19:11.5), 15th led the way. Olivia Valderrama (19:12.3), 18th; Rebecca Ruiz (19:14.6), 20th; and Hannah Batchelor (19:23.6), 24th, rounded out the team victory in the 41st CCCAA Women’s Championships.
In the men’s 54th CCCAA Championships, it was the second Mt. SAC team win in history and first for assistant coach Dan Ozan. “I’m just so proud of them. It was our mission from day one. I’m so excited,” he said.
Leading the Mounties was individual champ Manuel Fernandez (20:06.8) who was almost 16 seconds ahead of Glendale’s Raymond Lopez (20:22.3). The Mounties’ Anthony Alfaro (20:29.4) was third nosing out Riverside’s Ricardo Cardenas (20:30.8) and Enrique Villa (20:31.1) and Ventura’s Adam Cruz (20:31.7). From fourth to 14th place, the men were separated by only 11 seconds. Mt. SAC’s scoring was completed by Luis Huerta (20:44.1), 16th; Jose Melchor (20:53.5), 18th; and Hector Peralta (20:57.2), 22nd.
In the women’s race, College of the Sequoias’ Alyssa Block (17:43.0), last year’s runner-up and two-time NorCal champ, capped an undefeated season as she literally ran away from the competition by defeating SoCal champ Brenda Rosales (18:12.7) by almost 30 seconds. Rosales led third place finisher Sarah Hollis (18:25.5) of RCC by nearly 13 seconds. The other eleven All-Americans from 4th through 14th place were separated by 33 seconds.
Block was very pleased with her finish. “I felt fine in the last mile. In my last 800 meters, I got it done,” she said.
COS coach, Dave Bronzan was also delighted with her finish. “She ran a super last mile and was ready to go, if challenged,” he said.
Only Block and Glendale’s Angelica Salas (18:31.5), who finished fourth, were repeat All-Americans from 2016. David Frisbie (20:36.0) , 11th, of Las Positas was the only repeat men’s 2016 All-American. This speaks volumes for the freshmen talent who took big strides to success on a sunny, clear day in Fresno.
release by Woody Wilk, CCCSIA