FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads continue the 2014 season this weekend on Saturday at the Mustang Challenge hosted by The Master's College. The men's 8k run and the women's 5k course will be held at Central Park in Santa Clarita, Calif. The women's invite race will start at 8 a.m., followed by the men's invite race at 8:45 a.m.
MUSTANG CHALLENGE: The race will take place at Central Park (27150 Bouquet Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91350).
THE COURSE: Located in Santa Clarita and approximately seven miles from the Magic Mountain theme park, Central Park has been designed to offer fast times on a semi-challenging course.
The course consists of low cut grass and hard packed dirt paths, with a few short mulch and woodchip crossings. Central Park is approximately 85% dirt paths, 15% grass, 60% rolling terrain and 40% flat. The women's 5k course has one sizable hill portion, while the men's 8k course includes two sizable hill portions.
THE FIELD: Competing alongside the Titans and Mustangs will be squads from Cal Lutheran, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State San Marcos, Concordia (CA), Fresno Pacific, Grand Canyon, Hope International, Loyola Marymount, Marymount College, Pomona-Pitzer, Sacramento State, San Bernardino Valley, Simpson (CA), Antelope Valley, Vanguard, Westmont and William Jessup.
RESULTS: Complete results will be posted on The Master's College athletic website and can be found here http://www.masters.edu/athletics/menssports/crosscountry/the-mustang-challenge.aspx as well as on Fullertontitans.com at the end of the meet.
LAST TIME OUT: The Titans kicked off the 2014 season over Labor Day Weekend at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea, Calif., competing in the 29th annual Mark Covert Classic.
The Fullerton men (66 points) finished in third behind Loyola Marymount (41 points) and meet winner Long Beach State (36 points). Senior Brandon Perry finished third among collegians at 26:08 and was followed by sophomore Jose Penaloza in 11th with a time of 26:38. Tanner Love followed closely behind at 26:45, good for 15th place overall. Seven Titan men finished within the top 25 competitors.
The Titan women finished fourth with 133 points, while Loyola Marymont (32 points) garnered the team title, followed by USC (51 points) and San Diego State (55 points). Fullerton was led by 15th place collegian Emily Taylor in 18:51. Junior Ana Valdovinos was the next Titan finisher with a time of 19:20, finishing 23rd overall. Bloomington, Calif., native Katie Bathgate rounded out the top three participants concluding the invite in 28th and crossing the line at 19:34.
Top 3 Men Finishers at Mark Covert Classic (8k)
Top 3 Women Finishers at Mark Covert Classic (5k)
UPPERCLASSMEN LEADING THE WAY: To open the season, senior Brandon Perry and junior Emily Taylor both recorded the fastest times for the Titans at the Mark Covert Classic. Perry, a native of Irvine, Calif., ran a 26:07.8 8k, which was over 30 seconds faster than the next Titan finisher. Taylor ran an 18:50.5 5k, which was 14 seconds ahead of the mark she set last season in the 2013 Mark Covert Classic.
MAKING THEIR DEBUT: Five Titan student-athletes made their respective debuts at the Mark Covert Classic two weekends ago. A pair of redshirt freshman in Tanner Love (15th place; 26:45.3) and Robert Miyoshi (33rd place; 27:20.6) took to the men's 8k course. On the women's side, San Diego Mesa College junior transfer Kim Melechinsky (49th place; 20:09.9), freshman Brianna Shoffner (67th place; 20:38.7) and redshirt freshman Lauren Carr (78th place; 21:14.4) also wore the orange and navy for the first time at a cross country event.
LONGEST-TENURED COACH: As the 2014 season continues, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders logs his 27th season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton.
The Orange County native was tied with former fencing head coach Heizaburo Okawa (1982-2006) and former men's soccer coach Al Mistri (1981-2005) for 25 years of service at Fullerton.
A LOOK AT THE 2014 TITANS: The men return six of the 12 runners who competed at the conference championships, while the women return seven of eight student-athletes.
The Titan men return 18 student-athletes from last season without any newcomers. On the women's side, another 18 total runners return while a pair of Titans join the 2014 roster, San Diego, Calif., native Kim Melechinsky, and Brianna Shoffner from Huntington Beach, Calif.
UP NEXT: The Titans return to competition next weekend when they make a trip to San Bernardino, Calif., for the Coyote Classic hosted by Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday, Sept. 27. The meet will take place at the campus of CSUSB, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA
SEASON PREVIEW: Cal State Fullerton head cross country coach John Elders sat down with Fullertontitans.com to discuss the outlook on the 2014 season, filmed in stunning high-definition by department videographer Matt Brown.
#ALSIceBucketChallenge: Head men's and women's cross country and track and field coach John Elders accompanied a host of Cal State Fullerton student-athletes at Titan Stadium to take part in the ALS ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of the neurodegenerative disease.