The University of La Verne men and women’s cross-country teams both placed sixth overall in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Finals on Saturday at Prado Park in Chino.
The park was a rich green and looped around the small lake with various hills on the trail for the runners to overcome.
Out of all the SCIAC conference teams competing for the men’s title, Occidental took first place while Claremont-Mudd-Scripps came in second.
The men’s team began the meet with their 8k run at 9 a.m. Junior Efrain Partida placed the highest for the Leopards at 13th overall earning himself All-Conference honors.
“I thought he was amazing, he knew what he wanted to do a lot better and did it really well,” freshman Franklin Coopersmith said. “He really stepped up for the team.”
“Efrain did a great job and ran very well,” sophomore Katie Wilfong said. “All of the boys really pushed themselves, they ran better than their expectations.”
On the women’s side, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps finished first, followed by Redlands. Although the La Verne team placed sixth, it was not discouraged.
The women’s team is unique in that they almost didn’t have a team this year. Without a single returning runner, La Verne is composed of all first-year runners with one junior, one sophomore, and six freshmen.
Placing 21st and 22nd overall in the women’s competition were two of La Verne’s freshmen Jacqueline Steele and Amanda Seibert.
“For being a first-year team they were outstanding,” Coopersmith said. “Next year and the following year, they are going to be very hard to compete with.”
“I think that placing sixth gives us something to work towards,” Wilfong said. “We are all new and we had to figure out what we struggled with and how to fix it.”
The cross-country regionals are coming up in two weeks and each team brings their top five men and women to compete.
“It’s going to be a great meet. We are going to go after some SCIAC men’s teams,” said Josh Nordell, head coach of both men’s and women’s cross-country. “We are really excited.”
The top five competitors going to regionals from La Verne’s men’s team are Partida, Jacob Delgado, Quentin Haggard, Michael Cordova and Coopersmith.
Coopersmith is unsure if he will compete due to a knee injury.
The women who will compete in regionals for the Leopards are Steele, Siebert, Bridgette Mitchell, Rachelle Hacmac and Stephanie Fuentes.
The NCAA West Regionals will be held Nov. 11 at Prado Park in Chino.
All of the team members from both men and women’s cross-country have been putting in a lot of extra time and energy into building the cross-country program at the University and have seen improvement.
The women’s team has placed two places higher in the SCIAC finals than they did last year.
Two of the freshman women barely missed the mark to attain All-SCIAC honors.
“Both teams really improved a lot, I was lucky to have athletes who really enjoy working hard,” Nordell said.
Morgan Dobis can be reached at email@example.com.