Titans Return to Action at Highlander Invitational

Titans Return to Action at Highlander Invitational

Men's 6k Course Map Adobe PDF icon (8:00 a.m.)

Women's 5k Course Map Adobe PDF icon (8:30 a.m.)

FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads begin the second half of the 2014 season on Saturday at the Highlander Invitational hosted by UC Riverside. The men's 6k run and the women's 5k course will be held at the Ag/Ops Course in Riverside, Calif. The men's invite race will start at 8 a.m., followed by the women's competition at 8:30 a.m.

The Ag/Ops course is deceptive, appearing flat, fast and easy at first, but with a large difference in elevation from one end of the course to the other. The west end, at about the 1.5 mile mark, is 100 feet lower than the start/finish area, and runners tend to go out fast only to find the return home challenging.

The course in the Inland Empire is 85% flat with a few rolling hills, hard packed dirt with pre-competition watering to reduce dust. The path runs through the shade of 100-year-old orange groves and eucalyptus trees.

The course also has a rich history. Developed for the 1979 NCAA Division II National Championships, the course has since hosted the annual premier UC Riverside Invitational as well as numerous conference and regional championships. The site hosted the Big West Championships in 2002, 2004-05, 2008-12, and will return again this season in 2014. The UC Riverside Women's Cross Country Team won the 2008 Big West Championships on its home turf.

Competing alongside the Titans and Highlanders will be squads from Antelope Valley, CSUN, LA Trade Tech, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, USC and San Diego State. 

Results will be available on Flashwest.com. Complete results will also be posted on Fullertontitans.com following the conclusion of the meet.


AT THE BREAK WITH HEAD COACH JOHN ELDERS: Fullertontitans.com caught up with Titans cross country Head Coach John Elders to look back on the first four meets of the season and aspirations for the rest of the season including the Big West Championship on Nov. 1. 



BUILDING ON SUCCESS: In last season's Highlander Invitational on Oct. 19, 2013, both the men and women posted third place finishes, respectively.

Among the returners competing in this weekend's event, Katie Bathgate led the women's team, finishing the 5k course with a time of 17:33.8, good for a fourth place finish. Arianna Fuentes posted a 12th place finish, crossing the line at 18:00.7.

On the men's side of returners, Sean Graham completed the invite in a time of 18:28.5, finishing 19th overall and was closely followed by Brandon Perry's time of 18:32.0 in 22nd place.

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 Oct. 4 in Lawrence, Kan. Rice swept both the men's and women's cross country invitational races.

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 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.

Top 3 Men Finishers at Rim Rock Farm Classic (8k)



Overall Finish

Danny Ramirez



David Ramirez



Jose Penaloza




Top 3 Women Finishers at Rim Rock Farm Classic (6k)



Overall Finish

Emily Taylor



Ana Valdovinos



Arianna Fuentes




BRING THE BROOMS OUT, AGAIN: Following last week's competition at the historic Rim Rock Farm course in Lawrence, Kan., Cal State Fullerton's Emily Taylor and sophomore Danny Ramirez swept the Big West Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors for the second time this season, it was announced by the league office last week. The Fullerton duo previously swept the conference honors back on Sept. 23 following competition at the Mustang Challenge on Sept. 20. 

In his senior campaign as a Titan, Brandon Cook has improved on his 8k time in every meet following the opening season meet at the Fullerton-hosted Mark Covert Classic on Aug. 30. Cook currently holds a season-low mark of 26:37.3 that was tallied at the CSUSB Coyote Classic back on Sept. 27.

 At the halfway point in the 2014 season, the Titan men and women have produced 30 top-30 overall finishes to begin the season.

Fullerton Men's and Women's Overall Top-30 Finishes (2014) 




Mark Covert Classic (Aug. 30)



Mustang Challenge (Sept. 20) 



CSUSB Coyote Classic (Sept. 27)



Rim Rock Farm Classic (Oct. 4)




In all three events she's participated in, junior Emily Taylor has crossed the line as the top Fullerton runner on the women's side. She boasts a season-best 5k time of 18:50.5 at the Mark Covert Classic (Aug. 30), while completing her first 6k event at the Rim Rock Farm Classic (Oct. 4) in 22:25.5. 

THE RAMIREZ CONNECTION: For the first time this year, Fullerton sophomores Danny and David Ramirez finished 1-2 at the Rim Rock Classic on Oct. 4. The brothers and natives of Buena Park, Calif., have recorded a combined four overall top-20 finishes this season.

Women's team captain Ana Valdovinos has steadily produced a top-three Fullerton finish in all three events she's entered. The junior from Coachella, Calif., is one of only two female runners to post three overall top-25 finishes.   

Five Titan student-athletes made their respective debuts at the Mark Covert Classic on Aug. 30. A pair of redshirt freshman in Tanner Love (15th place; 26:45.3) and Robert Miyoshi (33rd place; 27:20.6) took to the men's 8k course. On the women's side, San Diego Mesa College junior transfer Kim Melechinsky (49th place; 20:09.9), freshman Brianna Shoffner (67th place; 20:38.7) and redshirt freshman Lauren Carr (78th place; 21:14.4) also wore the orange and navy for the first time at a cross country event. Redshirt freshman Samuel Garcia (34th place; 26:49.3) made his debut this past weekend at the Mustang Challenge on Sept. 20.

As the 2014 season continues, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders logs his 27th season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton.

The Orange County native 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 men return six of the 12 runners who competed at the conference championships, while the women return seven of eight student-athletes. The Titan men return 18 student-athletes from last season without any newcomers. On the women's side, another 18 total runners return while a pair of Titans join the 2014 roster, San Diego, Calif., native Kim Melechinsky, and Brianna Shoffner from Huntington Beach, Calif. 

Fullerton returns home as they host the Titan Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 24 at the campus of Cal State Fullerton.

 Head men's and women's cross country and track and field coach John Elders accompanied a host of Cal State Fullerton student-athletes at Titan Stadium to take part in the ALS ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of the neurodegenerative disease.



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Schedule Click For Full Schedule

Total Slides 1 : Active Index 1 : Last Slide Divs 5

Sat Aug 31
8:30 a.m. PT
Mark Covert Classic
Brea, Calif. | Carbon Canyon Regional Park
Fri Sep 13
6 p.m. PT
vs. USD Invite
@ San Diego, Calif. | Tecolote Shores
Sat Sep 28
7 a.m. PT
vs. Mustang Challenge
@ Santa Clarita, Calif. | Central Park
Fri Oct 04
1 p.m. PT
vs. Joe Piane Invitational
@ Notre Dame, Ind. | Burke Golf Course
Sat Oct 19
8 a.m. PT
vs. UCR Highlander Invitational
@ Riverside, Calif. | UCR Ag-Ops Course
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