RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton cross country had a very successful Saturday morning at the UCR Highlander Invitational in Riverside, Calif. The men's squad won the 6,000-meter race at the UCR Agricultural Operations Course while the women earned a runner-up finish in the 5K race.
For the Titan men, they won the competition with 58 points while UC Irvine was second with 72 points and UC Santa Barbara finished in third place with 78 points.
The women's team tallied 67 points in second place. UC Santa Barbara's 50 points was good for first place and the hosts, UC Riverside, scored 71 points in third place.
Sophomore Jorge Sanchez was the first Titan to cross the finish line, earning a seventh-place finish with a time of 18:04.3. Junior Samuel Pimentel's time of 18:07.8 placed him in eighth, right behind Sanchez. Jacob Smith continued his strong freshman campaign as he took 11th place overall with a time of 18:09.9. Senior Danny Ramirez was the fourth Titan scorer, posting a time of 18:15.7 that was good for 13th place overall. Freshman David Pacheco was the final scorer for CSF, as he took 19th place with a time of 18:23.4.
"It was a good day for the Titans," head coach John Elders said. "I thought the men ran really well. One of the best indicators of that was our pack time (time between first team finisher and last team finisher) being really good. David (Pacheco) really stepped up since Joshua Silva was out, he was huge and we needed him to run that well for us to win. Despite the drama about where we were racing, they stepped up and ran a good race today. I thought it was a great for showing for them before the conference championships."
Sophomore Sam Huerta led the way for the women's squad, posting a 5K time of 17:27.4 to earn a fifth-place finish. Freshman Wendi Leos took seventh place in 17:29.3, marking the first time this year she was not the first Titan to cross the finish line. Freshman Trinity Ruelas' time of 18:00.2 was good for 15th place. Junior Gabriella De La Rosa was right behind Ruelas in 16th place with a time of 18:02.3. Sophomore Sandra Flores was the final Titan scorer, clocking a time of 18:12.5 that was good for 24th place.
"Trinity (Ruelas) had her best race of the year and I think it will be a real confidence booster for her and for our team," Elders said. "Our pack time improved, I'd like for it to be better but it's still an improvement which is good. It was definitely our best team race since the Mark Covert Classic. We're getting healthier and we seem to be coming together at a good time, which is great. Despite some subpar weather conditions, we still did well."
Next up is the Titan Invitational for the men's and women's squads. CSF hosts the meet at the Titan Track Complex on Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. PT.
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