The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III West Regional Final was the end of the season for both the La Verne men’s and women’s cross country teams.
Each team in the West Regional came with their top five runners.
The top five women from the La Verne competing were Jacqueline Steele, Amanda Siebert, Bridgette Mitchell, Rachelle Hacmac and Stephanie Fuentes.
Steele and Siebert were the top runners for the Leopards on the women’s side.
Steele placed 69th with a time of 25:30.93 and Siebert followed in 70th place with a time of 25:33.93.
“Our top five girls were all freshman that was by far the youngest team,” head coach Josh Nordell said. “If we keep developing we are going to be really sound.”
The winner Sarah Zerzan of the women’s race was from Willamette whose team took the West Regional final.
She won the 6-kilometer course with a time of 21:45.68 despite the fact that she had a cold.
Even though Steele felt she could have done better she was happy with what the team had done.
“We all ran really well and improved over the season,” Steele said.
Experience is what has been gained from an improving season by the women’s cross-country team.
“We are excited that we all learned together how it all works in college competitions,” Steele said.
The women’s team is young but after improving from placing last the year before to sixth place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference they are optimistic about next season.
“As a team we want to keep improving,” Steele said. “Hopefully we will get some new recruits that will make our team stronger.”
Steele along with the majority of the cross-country team took a week off but now plan to begin training for track and field, which picks up in January.
Efrain Partida, Jacob Delgado, Quentin Haggard and Michael Cordova ran as individuals for ULV on the men’s side.
On the men’s side the race was won by Julian Boggs from Colorado College, finishing the 8-kilometer course with a time of 24:32.60.
Partida is a senior and was the top finisher for La Verne, finishing 52nd with a time of 27:04.50.
“That was probably the worst race of my season,” Partida said. “Jacob had an awesome race and ran for a personal best.”
Partida said that many things had attributed to how he did in the race but overall his body was tired from running since May.
Junior Delgado came in 68th with a time of 27:33.20, his own personal best.
“This is definitely exactly what he needed,” Partida said. “This is his junior year and a personal best will motivate him for track and next season for cross-country.”
Partida will graduate this year but still plans to come back and train with the team to hopefully run in some of the open meets for cross-country.
Partida feels that the La Verne cross-country team and running has taught him life lessons.
“One of the biggest things is perseverance,” Partida said. “Just staying in there and working with what you’ve got.”
Morgan Dobis can be reached at email@example.com.