By Mike Sessions |Staff Writer|
At Hooker Oak Park’s six kilometer run, the Coyotes had one thing and one thing only on their mind, and that was first place at the CCAA Championship event.
It can be a very intimidating environment seeing as the host Chico State has won the CCAA title six consecutive times, and the fact that they’re ranked seventh in the nation.
With the champions lingering in the air being thinner than usual, the Coyotes were up to the challenge.
However, so were the other CCAA opponents, bringing CSUSB to eighth place by the end of the event after a total score of 183.
This position didn’t sit well at all with the team or the head coach.
“I wasn’t happy, none of us were pleased with our performance, we expected to be at least four or five, a top five team, so eighth place we weren’t really happy with it,” said head coach Tom Burleson.
Runner Patricia Cortez finished first for the Coyotes with a time of 22 minutes and 54.8 seconds, and finished 20th overall. “She’s awesome, she’s been solid for our second year and she’s gonna be solid for our next year as well,” said Burleson.
Deserae Perez was not far behind, finishing at 23 minutes and 17.8 seconds for 32nd in the event. Other runners for CSUSB, Rebekah Frazier, Jackeline Felix, and Krystal Cota rounded out the top five for the Coyotes.
Chico State proved to be exactly what history has shown over the years, finishing first place with two of their runners, Ayla Granados and Sara Mikesell, coming in first and second. Respectively their total score came to an impressive 29 points.
Cal State Stanislaus, ranked 25th in the nation, came in second, and the Broncos of Cal Poly Pomona fell behind at third.
Not winning the CCAA Championship does not mean it’s the end of the world for the Coyotes though. Now it is time to move on to even bigger and better things, and that is the NCAA Division II West Regional Championship.
Washington is a long way from California, but that is exactly where CSUSB’s Cross Country team will be heading on Saturday, Nov. 9 to rematch.
While not being ranked top five in the nation, CSUSB will be considered an underdog going into the competition. But with all of the hard work they’ve contributed to the sport, there’s a high possibility they will not disappoint.
“We’ve had probably one of the best weeks of practice all season,” said Burleson. “We’re trying to be a top 10 team, we were knocked in the polls because of our eighth place finish. So we’re going to be back in the top 10 again.”
The West Regional is the perfect place to get back to where they want to be, and if they plan on placing in the top 10, every runner will have to run at their full potential.
This is no longer about the CCAA, the focus has to be sharper than ever, and we are firm believers that our Coyotes will be able to number one.