The women's cross country team placed 13th and the men's team placed 25th in the Southern California Championships at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park on Nov. 4.

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The women’s cross country team placed 13th and the men’s team placed 25th in the Southern California Championships at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park on Nov. 4.

“Everyone raced pretty good today,” said Head Coach Armand Crespo.

Both teams raced in biting wind, rain and low temperatures.

“The cold was the biggest challenge,” said Tessa Chandler, marine biology. “It was a complete mental race. I was going numb from wind coming at all angles and rain slapping me in the face,” she added.

Despite the cold, Chandler managed to beat her personal record by 40 seconds.

Apart from the weather, some runners found other obstacles to be more severe.

“It was a really fast race,” said Zahina Rios, political science. “Everyone was really aggressive.”

Brian Sacripanti, communications, found the track itself to be the most challenging part of the race.

“The biggest obstacle was finding the right footing,” he said.

If one would look at the course that was used in the race, the deep puddles and stretches of wet grass from rainwater combined with the steep turns and patches of mud would present a mental challenge in itself for a long distance runner.

Other runners viewed the inclement weather and track as an opportunity to test themselves.

“[It was] a competitive, good, hard-working cold,” said Arielle Steimer, international relations, and added “I probably had the best race of my life.”

The women’s team will be moving onto the State Championships in Fresno on Nov. 19.

“All my teams out-perform themselves at state level and I’m hoping that happens this time,” said Crespo.

“It’s time for them to perform, it’s what we brought them here to do,” he said.

As the season draws to a close, the team will prepare to lose some of its runners that will be transferring or graduating before the next season begins.

“State is a good closure to my last year in cross country,” said Cassandra Lew, Kinesiology, and added “the puzzle pieces came together, and I’ve never seen a puzzle so extraordinary.”

Taylor Toyotome caps off a hard finish with a well-deserved inhaler. (Charles Winners / Courier)

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