By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
VENTURA, Calif. — College of the Canyons continued its strong start to the season with a second place showing from its men's team and a sixth place individual finish by freshman Diana Perez on the women's side during Friday's Ventura College Invitational cross country meet.
The Cougars (53) settled for runner-up status after a tight three-team lead for the top spot. Event winner Oxnard College (50) set the pace followed by COC and third place Bakersfield College (61). Pasadena City College (77) was a strong fourth followed by Santiago Canyon (125) and host Ventura (146).
Canyons saw five runners place in the top 16 spots led by David Salazar's sixth-place time of 23:55. The freshman was also the top finisher for COC at last week's Oxnard Invitational, with his twelfth-place run.
Tarek Khezri followed just a few steps behind Salazar to take seventh at 24:05 on the four-mile course.
The COC contingent ran together through most of the course with Mauricio Abrego (24:39.6) in 11th and the pair of Edgar Pacheco (24:54) and Mathew Liebmann (24:54.4) pushing each other down the stretch to finish 14th and 16th, respectively, in the field of 58 runners.
COC sophomore Brannon Barber (25:16.3) placed 23rd but did not score for the Cougars.
Canyons entered just two runners in the 5K women's race. The four team field was led by host Ventura (20) and followed by Oxnard (40), Allan Hancock College (87) and Bakersfield (98).
Perez ran to a time of 23:23.6 to take sixth in the field of 39 runners. The freshman also placed 11th at the season-opening Oxnard Invite a week ago. Both represented the women's team's top time.
Freshman Sarah Zumudio was the only other runner for COC. She placed 26th at time of 28:58.1.
Full race results are included here.
Canyons will now prep for the Fresno Invitational at Fairview Park on Saturday, Sept. 7.
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.