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The Lancers raced at a steady pace competing against 4-year universities at the Biola Invitational Saturday morning at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton. The women’s cross country team placed 21st overall out of 22 teams, and the men’s team placed 15th out of 18 teams.

Runner Olivia Ruiz, a freshman out of San Marino High School, lead the women’s team placing 135 out of 216 runners with the time of 20:58.28 during the 5k run. Following Ruiz was teammate Meline Minasian, with a time of 22:33.83. 

Ruiz, running her first season with PCC, believes that maintaining a healthy diet will help improve her racing.

“I try to stay focused and not think too much or else things will go in my head,” said Ruiz. “I try to prepare myself mentally as well by making sure to remember to breath and keep my rhythm.” 

Lead runner for the men’s team, freshman Asa Barton out of Blair High School, placed 107th out of 187 runners with the time of 28:06.54 at the 8k run. Following Barton was teammate Giovanni Guajardo with a time of 28:45.57. 

“My focus will always be to catch people who are in front of me. Instead of thinking about the entire race while I’m racing, I’ll divide everything into shorter segments by creating small goals and breaking them,” says Barton. 

Barton believes the team did a phenomenal job overall. He acknowledges that each teammate is important for the team’s success, and sees the potential they have as the season progresses. Fellow athlete Guajardo plans on consistently training with speed work and hills, he sees that as an opportunity for his team’s growth.

“It was definitely an intense race considering that I was racing a distance that was unfamiliar to me. I am not very satisfied with how I performed but I did my best and I am looking forward to race that distance again in the future, now that I know how I should pace myself,” says Guajardo.

Coach Innocent Egbunike observes that the team is younger this season, and they are learning to run at the college level but are tackling the challenge.

“We hope that as they compete it gets better,” says Egbunike. 

Our Lancers move forward to their third competition on Friday, Sept. 13 at the SoCal Preview Meet at Mission Bay Park in San Diego. 

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