The College of the Canyons men’s and women’s cross country programs found success at last week’s Western State Conference Championship meet, with both teams running well enough to earn a trip to the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Regional Championships.
Led by a pair of top-five individual finishers the COC women’s team placed second at the event, while the men’s team ran to a sixth place result in claiming the final team qualification from the WSC.
The WSC Championships, hosted by Oxnard College, attracted a combined field of more than 210 student-athletes representing 13 schools.
In the women’s 5K race, COC sophomore Jessica Ruiz posted a time of 18:53.1 to finish fourth overall. Ruiz has now finished Top-10 in six of the team’s eight events this season.
COC freshman Stephanie Martinez also turned in a strong performance with her fifth place time of 18:58.6. Martinez has been a key contributor for Canyons all season, having matched Ruiz’ mark of six top-10 finishes.
Sophomores Chelsea Wells (20:31) and Díani Ellis (20:41.8) finished next for Canyons in 24th and 28th place, respectively.
Freshman Celine Whitman finished with a time of 21:09.5 to place 33rd and score for Canyons.
The Lady Cougars tallied 88 event points to tie for second with Cuesta College. Both programs trailed the team from Glendale College, which recorded 30 event points to claim the title of 2016 WSC Champions.
For the COC men’s team it was freshman Garrett Noltemeyer‘s 18th place time of 22:00.3 on the four-mile course that helped pace the Cougars.
Sophomore Jake Higdon (22:17.7) in 28th place was the next to cross for Canyons, followed by sophomore Mauricio La Plante (22:22.8) in 32nd place.
Freshman Cody Roelofson (22:27.1) finished just a few seconds off that mark in 33rd, while freshman Christopher Ochoa (22:30.0) was the last to score in 36th place.
Canyons finished with a score of 129 to trail Moorpark (121), West L.A. (96), Santa Barbara (88), Cuesta (80) and conference champions Glendale College (27).
Both programs will now prepare for the CCCAA SoCal Championships being held Friday, Nov. 4, at Irvine Regional Park.
The CCCAA State Championships will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, at Woodward Park in Fresno.
— Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information Office
— Photos by Mr. Mike Whitman/COC Sports Information Office