FULLERTON, Calif. – For the second consecutive season, the Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads will participate at the Rim Rock Classic on Saturday morning in Lawrence, Kan., with the men's 8K race at 9 a.m. CT, while the starting gun for the women's 5K is set to go off at 10 a.m. CT In addition, three members of the women's team will run at the Pomona-Pitzer-Invitational in Claremont, Calif.
RIM ROCK CLASSIC: The race will take place at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.
THE COURSE: From KUathletics.com "The University of Kansas hosts its home cross country meets at historic Rim Rock Farm, northwest of Lawrence. Before being donated to KU in 2004, the property was owned by former Kansas head track and field and cross country coach Bob Timmons and has been the home of the Jayhawks since the 1974 season. Any runner or spectator will say that the course is quite challenging and unusual. In addition to having two covered bridges as part of the course, Rim Rock Farm also features specific hills, turns and other landmarks that are named after former Jayhawk greats. Dispersed throughout the course are silhouette statues of seven legendary Jayhawk distance runners including Herb Semper, Allen Frame, John Lawson and Olympians Billy Mills, Wes Santee, Glenn Cunningham and Jim Ryun. Rim Rock Farm, home of the 2007 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, was the vision of Coach Timmons, who, during his 23-year tenure, won two cross country conference championships."
THE FIELD: Competing alongside the Titans will be squads from Kansas, Iowa State, Nebraska, Rice, and New Mexico State.
RESULTS: Results for the Rim Rock Classic will be available HERE
Results for the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational will be available HERE
LAST YEAR'S RIM ROCK CLASSIC: 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. 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. The Titans were fourth in the women's scoring led by eighth place collegian Emily Taylor in 22:25.5 on the 6k course.
NOTES FROM MUSTANG CHALLENGE: The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads finished fourth and seventh, respectively, at the Mustang Challenge, but it was improved times from a year ago that impressed head coach John Elders. Racing at Central Park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Penaloza finished the 8k course with a time of 25:28.55 good for eighth place. For Penaloza, it was the second time this season that he was the first Titan to cross the finish line. The women finished seventh with a total of 213 points as junior newcomer Sierra Ungerman set the pace for the Titans with a 19th place finish and a time of 18:19.92 on the 5k course. She was followed by the 36th-place finish of senior Emily Taylor with a time of 18:42.11.
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 2013's total of 147 points that marked the best finish for the program since tying for fourth in 2008. That made it back-to-back seasons (2013, 2014) 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 Riverside, Calif., for the Highlander Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 17.