The men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted Big West Conference Championships at their home course on Saturday, Nov. 2.
The men’s team finished fourth overall in the 10k with two athletes, senior Jonathan Lee and junior Arman Arani, earning all-conference honors. Lee finished the race in third place running 24:34.72. Arani placed fifth and finished with a time of 24:40.96, even though, according to Coach Robert Hansen, he was fighting through sickness.
“Jon and Arman train great together. They have a nice balance where if one is guy is struggling, he has the other to rely on,” Hansen said in an interview with The Highlander.
The duo proved to be a historic one for the Highlanders. It was the first time in the school’s history that the Highlanders had more than a top five finisher and the first time in 10 years of having more than one top 10 finisher. Lee’s third place finish was also the first in five years for the Highlanders.
The team’s fourth place standing was secured by close finishes from the rest of the team.
Sophomore Antonio Carbajal earned a top 25 finish in the 8k race, placing 17th with a time of 25:27.57, followed by senior James Sever who finished 31st, running a 26:06.00 time. Sophomore Isaac Acosta and junior Austin Dai, came in 37th and 38th place respectively. “(It) really is a whole team effort,” Coach Hansen said. “Toni, James and Isaac all share the load with the rest of the group.They communicate well with each other and the guys have great chemistry and common goals.”
The women’s team took sixth overall with senior Emily Sanchez as their top performer in the 6k, earning a top 25 finish. Sanchez ran a 21:43.71, followed by junior Haley Cabrera who ran 22:03.26 for 34th place.
Junior Kylie Atwood and seniors Samantha Poliakon and Leslie Rivera contributed points for the sixth place finish as well. They ran together until the end with Atwood finishing 43rd closely followed by Poliakon who came in 47th and Rivera, who finished 52nd.
“The ladies had a solid day. We definitely left a little bit out there and we’re excited to get up to Washington State and compete at a high level,” said Coach Hansen.
Both teams ran well enough to secure their trips to NCAA West Regionals.
“Not going out over their heads is imperative,” stated Coach Hansen. “Other than that, attack the second half is the philosophy for both groups.”
The meet will be hosted by Washington State at Colfax Golf Club in Colfax, Washington on Friday, Nov. 15. The women’s 6k will start at 11:30 a.m. followed by the men’s 10k at 12:20 p.m.