The University of La Verne men’s and women’s cross country team competed in the first race of the year at the UC Irvine Invitational last Saturday at Central Park in Huntington Beach.
Chico State runner Katie Lee won the women’s 5,000-meter race in 17:59.1. The ULV women’s team consisted of Alexis Candelaria (19:52.8) and Emmah Obradovich (28:57.5), with two injured runners unable to compete. The team must have five runners to place in the standings.
Candelaria understands the need to pace herself with the whole season ahead of her.
“Right now I’m running relaxed and just getting back into the season,” Candelaria said.
Scotty Bauhs of Chico State finished the men’s 7,000-meter race first in 22:14.7.
Leopard junior Russell Burrows finished 100th (25:48.5), Efrain Partida was 111th (26:45.1) and Matt Cordova 116th (27:10.0). ULV’s Vince Sainz placed 120th in 27:59.0, Jacob Delgado 126th (28:54.7) and Derek Chacon was 127th (29:09.8).
Chico State won the men’s team title with 18 points. Long Beach State was second with 63 points and UC Santa Barbara finished third with a total of 104 points.
ULV ranked 12th with 356 points.
Russell Burrows ran his personal best time and was the first ULV runner to cross the finish line in the men’s race.
“I am looking forward to future races with schools in our conference like Pitzer and Claremont,” Burrows said.
Head coach Josh Nordell was pleased with his team’s performance.
“It was better than expected,” Nordell said. “So many of our runners ran their personal best.”
With the excellent showing at the year’s first race, Coach Nordell is optimistic about the upcoming year.
“We’re just going to keep improving…every meet we’re going to get better,” Nordell said.
The next competition for both teams is at 4 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Biola Invitational in La Mirada.
Angie Gangi can be reached at email@example.com.