College of the Canyons cross country will be represented at the upcoming California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship meet once again after a successful run at the Southern California Regional Championship on Friday at Central Park.
The host Cougars placed sixth on the women's side to earn an automatic bid to the state meet on Nov. 18, at Woodward Park in Fresno. Meanwhile, the men's team saw two individual runners qualify for the trip to Fresno.
Friday's Regional Championship event featured a combined field of more than 450 runners. A total of 28 schools competed in the men's four-mile race, with 27 schools sending runners for the women's 5K event.
Mt. SAC emerged as the big winner on the day, as the Mounties were able to secure first place team finishes on both sides, while also seeing men's runners Manuel Fernandez and Anthony Alfaro finish first and second, respectively.
The Mounties men's team had five runners in the top-14 individually to finish with 34 event points. Riverside City College (80) followed in second place with L.A. Harbor (128), San Bernardino Valley College (160) and Glendale College (180) rounding out the top five.
El Camino (205), Cerritos (227), Cuyamaca (286), Santa Ana (296), Ventura (314), Saddleback (353), Santa Monica (394), Chaffey (395) and Bakersfield (414) will each advance to the state championship meet, with the top-14 teams in both races automatically earning a berth.
Canyons finished 19th in the field of 28 schools, with sophomore Garrett Noltemeyer representing the top time at a mark of 22:24.51 to place 47th for the Cougars. Sophomore Cody Roelofson was the next quickest at a pace of 22:33.76 to take 61st. Both will now make the trip to Fresno.
The women's race featured the Mounties in first place with 78 event points, trailed by Ventura (94), L.A. Harbor (109), Glendale (125) and Cuyamaca (131) in the top five.
Canyons finished just outside the top five with 137 points, followed by Riverside (156), Saddleback (296), Cerritos (304), Oxnard (348), El Camino (368), Orange Coast (384), San Bernardino Valley (386) and Moorpark (413), with each of those teams earning a trip to Fresno.
Brenda Rosales of L.A. Harbor was the overall event winner at a time of 18:39.56.
Díani Ellis finished fifth after clocking a time of 19:24.44 to represent COC's best performance of the day.
The Lady Cougars will now prep for a strong finish to the season at Woodward Park.
Earlier this year, Canyons placed third behind Hartnell and Mt. SAC at the Fresno City College Invitational, which annually provides a preview of the course used for the state championship meet.
The CCCAA State Championship will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, with the women's 5K event. The men's four-mile race will follow immediately after at 11 a.m.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information