Mustang Challenge Entry List
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads will participate in their second meet of the year on Saturday, traveling to the Mustang Challenge, hosted by the Master's College at Central Park in Santa Clarita, Calif. The women's 5k race will start at 8 a.m., followed by the men's 8k 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 will be squads from CSU Bakersfield, Dominican University of California, The Master's College, Antelope Valley College, Biola, UCLA, Cal Lutheran, Cal Tech, Occidental College, Pomona Pitzer, Grand Canyon, Embry Riddle Arizona, Cal State San Marcos, Westmont, UC Irvine, Hope International, Redlands, Cal Baptist, Providence College and Loyola Marymount.
RESULTS: Results will be available on http://www.masters.edu/athletics/.
LAST YEAR'S MEET: The Cal State Fullerton men's team finished in second place, while the women finished fourth at the Mustang Challenge in 2014. The Sacramento State women's cross country team finished in first place, while Cal State San Marcos garnered the top spot in the men's team standings. Fullerton was second in the men's standings with 84 points. Danny Ramirez finished second among collegians at 26:00 and was followed closely by Jose Penaloza in third with a time of 26:02. The Titans were fourth in the women's scoring led by 14th place collegian Emily Taylor in 18:52.
NOTES FROM MARK COVERT CLASSIC: The Cal State Fullerton's men's cross country team finished second at the 2015 Mark Covert Classic paced by Jose Penaloza's fourth-place time on Sept. 5. Fullerton's women's cross-country team finished fourth as Emily Taylor's 5k time of 18:39.93 was good for sixth. In the men's 8k race, Penaloza was the top Titan finisher, crossing the line in fourth (third collegiate) with a time of 25:18.93. The men last finished second at the Covert Classic in 2013, and Penaloza's time marked the second best 8k time of his Titan career, and for the fourth time in his career, he was the top Titan finisher. Taylor's time of 18:39.93 in the women's 5k was good for sixth as the senior was the top Titan finisher for the ninth time in her career. In addition, during her career, Taylor has led the Fullerton women at the Covert Classic as a freshman, junior and senior.
A LOOK AT THE 2015 TITANS: The men return five runners that competed at the conference championship as well as one additional student-athlete from 2014 and two returning redshirts while welcoming four newcomers to the 12-man roster. Jose Penaloza is the top returner from the Big West Championships as his time of 24:43.5 was good for 14th overall. Danny Ramirez, Jeff Little and David Ramirez also had top-50 finishes.
On the women's side, Fullerton has seven returners, including four athletes that competed at the Big West Championships. The Titans welcome eight newcomers to the squad. Fullerton's top returners include senior Emily Taylor, who finished 25th at the Championships with a time of 21:51.0 as well as fellow top-50 finishers Arianna Fuentes, Pamela Pelayo and Kim Melechinsky.
A LOOK BACK AT 2014: Both the Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams concluded the Big West Championships in fifth-place, respectively, as the women were paced by senior Tejera Dial, while Jose Penaloza led the men's contingent.
For the women, Fullerton's fifth-place score (149 points) was just two points shy of last season's 147 points that marked the best finish for the program since tying for fourth in 2008. That makes it back-to-back seasons that the Titans have concluded the conference meet in fifth.
For the men, the Titans' fifth-place finish matched the best for the program since 2006 when Fullerton recorded an identical finish in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Penaloza led the Titan squad, completing the 8k course in a time of 24:43.5. His 14th place tally was the best Titan finish at a conference meet since 2006.
LONGEST-TENURED COACH: As the 2014 season gets underway, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders enters his 28th season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton.
Elders 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. The Orange County native is coach of cross country, women's indoor track and field, and men's and women's outdoor track and field.
UP NEXT: The Titans return to the course in two weekends when they split the squads with some student-athletes participating at the Rim Rock Farm Classic in Lawrence, Kan., while others will compete at the Pomona Pitzer Invitational in Claremont, Calif.