MXC Competes Against Top DIII Cross Country Programs

MXC Competes Against Top DIII Cross Country Programs
Rachael Dela Cruz
Sports Information Student Assistant

OSHKOSH, WI The University of La Verne men's cross country competed against some of the nation's top runners Saturday morning at Lake Breeze Golf Club at Pre-Nationals. The Leopards showed some strong performances, finishing in 44th place overall.

From the Coach

"Competing at pre-nationals was a first for this program and it was a great experience for the athletes," said La Verne Head Coach Justin Wood. "The travel, weather and course conditions provided some challenges to overcome. The men put out a great effort to do that and learned a lot on this trip. We'll rest a little and then get ready for SCIAC's."

How it Happened

The men's team reevaluated their strategy after observing the muddy terrain the women raced through. They keyed in on packing up and running the smartest tangents around curves and through the thick mud.

The Leos got out in the middle of the field of over 350 runners. At the 600m mark, they were spread out by only seven seconds from the first to seventh runners, with Matthew Salas leading the group. Just before the halfway mark, Salas moved up about 100 spots and the other six runners packed up together. The packing put the Leopards in 40th place ahead of West Region No. 7 Colorado College (46th place).  

Salas continued to press on and the pack of six split into two groups with Marcelo Arcos, Samuel Johnny, Eric Lopez-Elwell, and Jeremiah Alarcon following first, and Aidan Garcia and Kyle Regret following behind. Throughout the remainder of the 8K, the men worked together within their respective groups, with the group leader rotating. 

The Leopards weren't able to hang on to their team position, finishing in 44th place. Salas led the group with a time of 27:02.8. Johnny was the Leopards' next best finisher, crossing at 28:09.5. Alarcon (28:12.1), Lopez-Elwell (28:14.3), and Arcos (28:24.1) followed behind to round out the scoring. Despite falling back a few spots, the team shows strength in their packing, exhibited by a 1:21.3 spread.

Next Race

The Leopards will compete in their one and only SCIAC Championship conference meet on Saturday, October 27 at Prado Park in Chino Hills, CA. They are looking to place within the top half of the conference.

Leopard Spotlight on Coach Wood

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