LAWRENCE, Kan. – Competing in the event for the first time in program history, the Cal State Fullerton men's team finished in third place, while the women finished in fourth at the Rim Rock Farm Classic at the Rim Rock Farm course on Saturday morning. Rice swept both the men's and women's cross country invitational races.
The Rice men were led by third place finisher Will Firth who completed the 8k course in 24:43.2. The Owls collected a dominating 3-5-12-20-25 for 65 points to clinch the title. Host Kansas' Jacob Morgan headlined the race crossing the line at 24:30.5.
Rice's Cali Roper led a trio of Owls at the top of the women's standings, earning the individual title in the 6k race posting a mark of 21:35.1. Rice's Madi McLellan (21:40.2) and Katie Jensen (21:58.0) rounded out the top-three.
"The course at Rim Rock Farm is an exceptional cross country environment," stated head coach John Elders. "The student-athletes had a great experience and we will consider returning to the event in future seasons."
Fullerton was third in the men's standings with 77 points, just one point shy of second place Nebraska-Kearney at 76 points. Fullerton sophomore Danny Ramirez finished 10th among collegians at a season-best 25:14.0 and was followed by fellow sophomore David Ramirez in 18th with a time of 25:32.1 on the 8k course. Sophomore Jose Penaloza rounded out the top-three participants at 25:32.9, good for 19th place overall. Four Titan men finished within the top-30 competitors.
"The men showed the best team performance of the season," said Elders. "We are also exhibiting wonderful progress after a positive meet."
The Titans were fourth in the women's scoring led by eighth place collegian Emily Taylor in 22:25.5 on the 6k course. Junior Ana Valdovinos was the next Titan finisher with a time of 23:07.2, finishing 25th overall. Anaheim, Calif., native Arianna Fuentes rounded out the top-three Fullerton participants concluding the invite in 34th while carding a time of 23:18.9. Six Titan women concluded the race within the top-50 participants.
"Emily Taylor set the pace on the women's side after putting together a strong race," stated Elders. "We were really spread out, but the performance puts us in the right direction nonetheless."
The Titans return to the course in two weeks when they travel to Riverside, Calif., for the Highlander Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 18 as Fullerton competes at the UCR Ag Ops Course for the first of two occasions this season.