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Expectations running high

By Jessica Staub

SETTING THE PACE (Chris Ullyott)

By Jessica Staub

On Sept. 9, the Women’s Cross Country team came the closest anyone has been in four years to beating Orange Coast.

Coach Mike Barbee says it is because his athletes train and work hard every practice.

Even though no standings are kept, Barbee believes that the team is ranked second or third.

“It’s between us and Mt. SAC for the second place rank,” Barbee said. “But, we can do better.”

The team came in second to last year’s state champions, Orange Coast. With a difference of only seven points, sophomore Natasha Montoya still expects more from her team.

“I think we can do better than our first race,” Montoya said. “We want to be first.”

The feeling is mutual for freshman Kelley Floyd from Corona High.”Everyone wants to win and tries very hard,” Floyd said. “In high school, everyone is just there.”

Another sophomore, Amy Gilsen, is very excited about the season’s start.

“We have more speed and talent this year from last,” Gilsen said. “It really helps to have good coaches who know what they are doing and can adjust to everyone’s talents.”

With equally good coaches, the men’s team finished sixth place in the Sept. 9 race.

Freshman Anthony Mercado supported his teammates on the side due to an injury.

“We came in sixth out of 22 teams,” Mercado said. “We are working well together, but there is always room for improvement.”

Freshman Cyrus Bastani, 19, spent one year at Cal State Fullerton and is now the top runner for the men’s team. Running well in high school, his skills didn’t improve once he transferred to the university, but now he is running well again.

“I feel happy about how I am running,” Bastani said. “It’s a lot of hard work but, I am doing a lot better and looking forward to the state meet.”Another freshman, Kyle Ramirez, is excited to compete this year. He sees the improvement from the beginning of the year to now.

“When we first started practicing, it seemed like almost everyone was out of shape,” Ramirez said. “This is a good group and we should do well this season.”

Because there are so many people in Southern California, this conference has more competition than some Northern California conferences.

Of all the competitions this year, Gilsen said the most exciting should be conference finals rather than state.

“The regional course is very difficult,” Gilsen said. “Our conference has much more talent than some northern conferences, so the state meet sometimes is not as hard of a race.”

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