FULLERTON, Calif. - The 2019 Cal State Fullerton cross country season is officially under way as the men's and women's teams reported and had official team meetings on Tuesday.
On August 24, you can run and dine with the Titans as part of the PRs and Pancakes Fundraiser. Get all the information and sign up here!
Your first chance to see the Titans compete is when the program hosts the annual Mark Covert Classic on Saturday, Aug. 31 at Carbon Canyon Regional Park at 8:30 a.m. PT.
In 2018, the women's team earned a runner-up finish at the Big West Championships while the men's team finished in third place. Head coach John Elders feels that the 2019 renditions of the men's and women's teams are capable of much more.
Elders on returners from the men's team
"We lost Samuel Pimentel but we bring everybody else back. Jorge Sanchez and Anthony Alfaro return as two of our top guys from last year and they obviously had very successful track and field campaigns in the spring of 2019. I am very excited for them to be our senior leaders and lead the way for us.
Jacob Smith would be our next guy, he was having a great season until he had an issue at the Big West Championships and was unable to finish the race. If he can return to that level or better, then that will really help us.
Erick Juarez is another one that was in our top five often last season and he'll be able to help us again this year.
Uriel Medina can definitely add some depth to our group. Edgard Villa really started to come on at the end of the last season. I think he's very hungry and motivated to be a big contributor, he's a guy to watch."
Elders on newcomers to the men's team
"We think we'll really have a pretty good crew with Erik Gonzalez coming in from Arizona State. He was a California State Champion as a senior in high school so he could potentially challenge as our No. 1 runner. Our top freshman is Alexis Garcia, from Newport Harbor, he was one of the top five 3,200-meter runners in California last year. So we're starting to build some depth there."
Elders on men's Big West Championship chances
"On paper, talent wise, if these guys all run at an elite level then we can compete with Cal Poly for the team title. That's realistic. We're definitely a top-three team again and definitely in the conversation for the title. If the aforementioned guys take their running to the levels they are capable of then we're in the game for sure. That's all you can ask for is to have a chance."
Elders on women's team depth
"We have everybody back from last year except Gabby (De La Rosa) and we were six points behind Cal Poly at the Big West Championships. I think we're even deeper this year than we were last year and in 2018 our ninth girl was in 32nd place overall. So we have eight of those nine girls back and then we add Wendi Leos back into the mix after she redshirted last year. In 2017, she was the second-best freshman in the Big West Conference and took 13th place at the Big West Championships. So if she just runs at that level, she would likely be in our top five.
Samantha Huerta is going to challenge for the conference title. We have Lucina, Trinity, Sandra, those four all finished in the top 10 at the Big West Championships last year. I think they are going to be better runners this year. We are so deep, so the question is, who's going to step up? It's going to be very, very challenging to pick the nine runners for the conference meet and then seven for the regionals. That's a great problem to have and they are going to be very competitive."
Elders on newcomers to the women's team
"Our best incoming freshman is McKaylie Caesar. She's the real deal. She was very undertrained in high school and I think she can come in and make an impact."
Elders on chances to win Big West Championship
"Cal Poly is the reigning champion and we have to give them respect and they deserve it. They are the favorites. But, we have a team that can give a strong run at it. I know the girls are motivated, they want to be the first team in program history to do it."
Elders on qualifying for the NCAA Championships
"Samantha Huerta was only a few seconds away last year at the NCAA Regionals and that really, really, didn't set well with her. If you know her at all, she's super competitive. She definitely wants to make a run as an individual but with our team, it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility that our team makes it. If they run at a high level, they will be a contender to go as a team. Which is very difficult in our region but we can do it. It's exciting to be able to think that we can do that. I think the meet at Notre Dame will be a great test for us to see where we stack up."
SUPPORT THE TITANS!
Fans can purchase tickets for various Cal State Fullerton athletic events by visiting FullertonTitans.com/Tickets. The Athletic Ticket Office can also be contacted by phone at 657-278-2783 or by email at email@example.com. The Ticket Office is located at the Titan House off of Gymnasium Drive at the eastern end of the Intramural Fields and is open from 10 am – 4 pm PT, Monday – Friday.
FOLLOW THE TITANS
Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (@FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans), and Instagram (@FullertonTitans) and Snapchat (FullertonTitans). In addition, the track and field and cross country teams have established their own official Twitter page (@FullertonTFXC) and Facebook Page (@FullertonTFXC).