Highlander Invitational Meet Information (PDF)
FULLERTON, Calif. – For the third straight season, the Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams are participating in the Highlander Invitational held at the Ag/Ops Course adjacent to the UC Riverside campus on Saturday.
HIGHLANDER INVITATIONAL: UC Riverside is hosting its fourth annual Highlander Invitational at the UCR Ag/Ops Course. The men's 6k gets underway at 8 a.m., with the women's 5k starting at 8:30 a.m.
THE COURSE: From gohighlanders.com: The Ag/Ops Course is located adjacent to campus on the 420-acre Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Canyon Crest Drive. The course is 85% flat with a few rolling hills, hard packed dirt with pre-competition watering to reduce dust.
There is no charge for admission at the Highlander Invitational, and spectator parking in Lot 30 is free for this event. To reach the Ag/Ops Course from the 215/60 freeway, exit Martin Luther King and go West. Turn left at the Canyon Crest traffic light and travel approximately 300 meters to the course entrance
THE FIELD: Competing alongside the Titans will be squads from UC Riverside, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, CSUN, Pepperdine, San Diego State and USC.
RESULTS: Results for the Highlander Invitational will be available HERE.
LAST YEAR'S HIGHLANDER INVITATIONAL: The Cal State Fullerton men's team finished in second place, while the women finished in third at the Highlander Invitational at the Ag/Ops Course. Host UC Riverside swept both the men's and women's cross country invitational races. Fullerton was second in the men's standings with 63 points. Danny Ramirez finished sixth among collegians at 18:05.0 and five Titan men finished within the top-20 competitors. The Titans were third in the women's scoring led by fifth place collegian Emily Taylor in 17:47.3 on the 5k course.
NOTES FROM RIM ROCK CLASSIC: The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams finished sixth and fifth, respectively, at the Rim Rock Classic at Rim Rock Farm on Saturday, Oct. 3.
For the third time in 2015, 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. Penaloza, Tim Reed, Joe Casco, Jeff Little, Martin Montes and T.J. Moffit each set season-best times on the 8k course. 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.
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: On Friday, Oct. 23, the Titans will host the Titan Invitational on the Cal State Fullerton campus.