RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross-country teams picked up a pair of third-place finishes at the Highlander Invitational on Saturday morning in Riverside, Calif.
On the women's side, Katie Bathgate led the women's team for the third consecutive time, finishing the 5k course with a time of 17:33.8, good enough for a fourth-place finish. UC Riverside's Raquel Hefflin scored the top time, finishing the course at 17:09.5.
Wyoming's women's cross-country team placed first with 54 points, followed by UC Riverside (64), Cal State Fullerton (65), San Diego State (92), USC (130), UC Irvine (134), Long Beach State (172), Cal State Northridge (130) and CSU Bakersfield (272).
"We feel like we have the chance to catch UC Riverside," head coach John Elders said looking ahead to the Big West championships in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Nov. 2. "I was pleased overall, and we just keep getting better. I think if we get all of our women's athletes to have their best races at the same meet, we'll have the chance to finish in the top four of the Big West."
Other Titan finishers that scored included Ana Valdavinos in 16th place with a time of 18:08.1, followed by Tijerra Lynch in 23rd place with a time of 18:21.6. Emily Taylor completed the 5k course with a time of 18:26.8, good for 25th and Celinda Manzo completed the scoring finishing 33rd (18:36.3).
On the men's side, junior Jayson Perez led Cal State Fullerton with a 12th-place overall finish (8th collegiate), completing the 6k course with a time of 18:13.4. It was the first 6k course the Titans have competed in this season, and Perez's best finish of the year.
Freshman Gilbert Solorza, who battled hip flexor discomfort during the race, finished 46th after being the top Titan finisher in four races this season.
The final Titan to score for the men was Daniel Ramirez, finishing 30th overall (24th collegiate; 18:41.2).
" We had a better race than in Sacramento," Elders said. "Jayson Perez had a big breakthrough. We have to position ourselves better in first half of race if we want to be more successful at conference."
The race determined who will compete for Cal State Fullerton in the Big West championships on Nov. 2 in San Luis Obispo. For the women's team that list is comprised of Bathgate, Sara Taylor, Fuentes, Valdovinos, Lynch, Emily Taylor, Manzo, Amanda Crissinger and Abby Buckhoff .
For the men, competing in the Big West Championships will be Solorza, Perez, Graham, Perry, Little, Penaloza, Bernard, Ramirez and Russell.
Cal State Fullerton will compete in one final event before the Big West Championships, as CSF will host the Titan Invitational beginning at 5 p.m., Friday. The start/finish of the race will be on the track, while the course loops around the grass recreation fields, and the concrete & asphalt pathways around the Sports Complex.
Women's Results (5K)
1. Wyoming (54)
2. UC Riverside (64)
3. Cal State Fullerton (65)
4. San Diego State (92)
5. USC (13)
6. UC Irvine (134)
7. Long Beach State (172)
8. Cal State Northridge (230)
9. CSU Bakersfield (272)
Men's Results (6K)
1. Wyoming (18)
2. UC Irvine (45)
3. Cal State Fullerton (78)
4. UC Riverside (89)
5. Cal State Northridge (155)