RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Following a two-week layoff, College of the Canyons cross country was back in competition on Saturday, running with a mix of community college and Division I programs at the Sixth Annual UC Riverside Highlander Invitational.
The event, which attracted a field of 13 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams, also allowed for a reunion of sorts, with former COC runners Jessica Ruiz (CSU Fullerton), Lexi Whitman (CSU Fullerton), Jason Hillquist (CSU Fullerton) and Ashton Garcia (UC Irvine) all running in the meet.
COC’s top performer was once again sophomore Díani Ellis who placed 25th overall in the field of 138 runners with a time of 18:11.2. That mark helped the women’s squad to a third place finish among the four non-Division I schools at the event.
Conference rival Glendale College ranked second and San Bernardino Valley College was fourth. A team of unattached runners took the top spot among non-Division 1 teams. UC Santa Barbara was the overall meet winner, followed by Fullerton and host UC Riverside.
Stephanie Martinez placed 51st (18:42.1) for the Cougars, followed by Celine Whitman at 100th (20:05.4).
Sophia Stephan (105/20:20.4), Amanda Finn (124/21:25) and Samantha Bell (21:37.9) also ran for Canyons.
COC sophomore Garrett Noltemeyer was top finisher for the men’s team at a 58th place time of 19:03.8.
Canyons would place 13th overall and fourth among the non-Division I teams at the event. Glendale posted the top community college finish, and Fullerton was the overall event winner.
Noltemeyer was joined by Travis Cetti (93rd/19:51), Cody Roelofson (96th/19:55.4), Cristian Cucuta (117th/21:10) and Dimas Murguia (124th/21:45).
With just three events remaining on the schedule, Canyons will next run at the Western State Conference (WSC) Finals hosted by Bakersfield College on Friday, Oct. 20, at the Kern County Soccer Park.
At the WSC Preview meet on Sept.29, COC’s women’s team finished third, while the men’s team was ninth.
Canyons will then host the CCCAA Southern California Championships on Friday, Nov. 3, at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information
—Photo credit: Mike Whitman/COC Sports Information