The Lancers men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Carbon Canyon Regional Park Saturday to participate in the season opener hosted by Cal State Fullerton.

The Mark Covert Classic has marked the beginning of the cross country season for participating Southern California cross country teams for the past 30 years. The men run an 8K and the women run a 5K.

“It’s a good season opener,” said Armand Crespo, the head coach for cross country.

This past summer, Crespo worked hard to recruit new freshman to the team and making sure his veteran runners are in peak condition.

“We have some red shirts in here from last years so they should be doing really well,” said Crespo referring to his plan to delay or suspend his athlete’s participation in order to lengthen their eligibility to three years instead of the usual two.

The men started off the invitational at 8:30 a.m. Nathan Guzman, a veteran runner, finished the race with a time of 27:20.

“I feel I did great,” said Guzman. “I did a minute and a half better than last year.”

Another impressive performer from the men’s team was Gabriel Castro, a freshman runner, who placed 81st with a time of 27:48.

“[Castro] is the fastest freshman we’ve had here in awhile,” said Crespo.

The women’s team also had freshmen who did well.

Franceska Millanponce finished with a time of 21:37 followed closely by Christina Elizalde who came in at 21:47.

“I did pretty good,” said Elizalde.

This year, the invitational was attended by Mark Covert, whom the race was named after. Covert was a 1970 Division II champion and Cal State Fullerton alum.

Covert will be inducted into the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame this year.

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