LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams finished sixth and fifth, respectively, at Saturday's Rim Rock Classic at Rim Rock Farm.
For the third time this year, Jose Penaloza was the first Titan to cross the finish line on the men's side, completing the 8k course in a time of 25:12.6. He shaved 20 seconds off his time from one year ago, and finished 27th among Division I runners.
"At first glance, the men's results seem somewhat modest, but looking at last year and the times we ran, we did really well this year as we have four weeks left to the Big Wets Championships," head coach John Elders said. "Jose led the way again. He got pushed around a bit around the one-mile mark and lost his rhythm and that affected his race. Joe Casco, Jeff Little and Tim Reed ran in a nice pack, and Martin Montes and Sam Pimentel ran their best races of the year."
Reed was the second Titan to cross the finish line as his time of 25:30.4 was good for 31st in competition against fellow Division I runners. Casco quickly followed in 32nd, running the 8k course in a time of 25:33.4.
Little was the fourth Titan to finish in a time of 25:37.4, good for a 34th-place finish. The fifth and sixth Titans to score were Montes and Pimentel in 42nd (26:12.9) and 43rd places (26:13.4), respectively.
The final Titan to score was T.J. Moffit as his time of 26:42.9 was good for a 48th-place finish.
Also running for the Titan men was freshman Anthony Alfaro (26:52.4, 50 Division i).
Penaloza, Reed, Casco, Little, Montes and Moffit each set season-best times on the 8k course.
Iowa State won the men's race with four top-10 finishes for a total of 35 points, followed by Kansas (47), Nebraska (71), Southern Illinois (110), Rice (116), Cal State Fullerton (166), New Mexico State (172) and Oral Roberts (242).
Kansas' Evan Landes finished the 8k race in a time of 23:55.6 to win the men's individual title.
On the women's side, for the second time this year, senior Emily Taylor led the Titans across the finish with a time of 22:12.9, that was good for 15th among Division I competitors on the 6k course. Her time was improved by 13 seconds from her 2014 race.
For the women, this was the first 6k race of the season for the Titans.
"The ladies ran really well with our best team performance of the year," Elders said. "We missed third-place Grand Canyon by just five points. At the Mustang Challenge, Grand Canyon beat us by 58 points. We had really strong performances from Emily and Sierra Ungerman. Stephanie Ruiz continues to improve every week, and Stephanie Cortez had been battling an illness, and she looked much better today and she feels much better. Emily Taylor had a strong last mile."
Cortez, a freshman, followed with a time of 22:53.9 in 27th place followed by Pamela Pelayo in 28th with a time of 22:58.1.
Junior Nisreen Rizk was the sixth Titan to complete the 6k course with a time of 23:11.7, good for 33rd in the Division I ranks, while junior Emily Ruiz (24:01.5, 40) was the final Titan to score. Freshman Marissa Pluma finished in a time of 24:44.1.
Kansas won the women's title behind six top-10 finishes, totaling 23 points. Rice (50) took second followed by Grand Canyon (104), Nebraska (105), Cal State Fullerton (109), New Mexico State (175) and Southern Illinois (192).
Kansas' Sharon Lokedi took home tome women's individual title with a time of 20:42.4.
In addition to the Rim Rock Classic, three Titans competed at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational in Claremont, Calif., on Saturday. Freshman Kevelin Huerta (24:36.13) finished 87th on the 6k course, followed by junior Abby Buckhoff (25:80.17, 118) and freshman Ruby Rodriguez (25:29.71, 119).
The Titans return to action on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Highlander Invitational at UC Riverside.