FULLERTON, Calif. — In just the second meet of the season, every competing runner of the University of La Verne cross country teams set personal records at the Biola Invitational held at Ted Craig Park on Saturday morning.
Unlike last week, during which they emphasized on pack running, the Leopards got the green light from head coach Bryan George to go out fast today. The strategy, combined with a fast course, led to good results for the Leopards.
Tanner Long paced the men, placing 22nd with a time of 25 minutes, 20.84 seconds on the 8-kilometer course. Mario Martinez slashed nearly two minutes off his previous mark, coming in at 25:40.87 and 34th place overall. Antonio Rivera finished 57th with a time of 26:38.3.
Rachael Dela Cruz and Melissa Cerrillos went 1-2 for the women, finishing at 18:59.07 (69th) and 19:03.16 (72nd), respectively, on the 5-kilometer course. Kamalei Lee, who took an year off cross country last season, finished third among La Verne women with a time of 20:40.34 and placed 133rd.
"They had the green light to take it out fast today and I was happy to see the results," George said. "We had a lot of personal bests on both teams, even accounting for the fast course."
The men finished eighth as a team while the women finished 13th. The Leopards weren't at full strength due to injuries and should see even bigger improvements as the season goes along.
"We're looking forward to getting a few key runners back from injury," George said. "We can make some big improvements when we're at full strength."
The Leopards are back in action on Sept. 23 at the Aztec Invitational, hosted by San Diego State.