By Celeste Walter
By Celeste Walter
The Riverside City College Tigers proved themselves a force to be reckoned with at the Sept. 27 UC Riverside Invitational, held at the agricultural center in Riverside.
The five mile course was described as flat and fast with 285 runners taking the line.
RCC competed against 24 other colleges placing eighth in the state behind seven four year institutions.
The final scores were RCC- 259 following La Reconquista-233, Occidental-211, Fresno Pacific-193, Vanguard-177, Pomona Pitzer – 170, CS San Marcos -100 and UC Riverside-22.
Coach Jim McCarron seemed proud of the team’s performance, “Our guys ran a good race today,” he said.
“Once our third, fourth and fifth runners start moving closer to our first and second guys we will be able to compete at a higher level. Our progress has been good, but we have a lot of work to do,” McCarron said.
Sophomore Juan Ruiz placed 21 out of 285 athletes. His time was 25:39.
He continues to maintain a pace set on the four mile course of the Orange Coast Cross Country Classic, where Ruiz led the Tigers placing fourth with a final time of 20:43.
During his first season with RCC, Ruiz participated in the California Community College Cross Country Championships with a time of 21:47. In the Southern California Cross Country Championships with a time of 21:52 and the Orange Empire Conference Cross Country Championships with a time of 21:52, all were four mile courses.
Ruiz said a coach in high school suggested he try out for track and “I was league champion in the two mile all four years of high school,” Ruiz said.
His high school track coach was present to watch Ruiz run during the UC Riverside Invitational.
RCC freshman Jeffery Pelarde started strong, taking third place at the Fresno Invitational. Pelarde placed 30 of 285 athletes running in the UC Riverside Invitational with a time of 25:55.
Pelarde’s passion for the sport began in high school.
“The CIF finals were the most important point during high school,” Pelarde said. “I’m just going to keep on training and see what happens at state.”
Sophomore Raphael Toscano Jr. placed 60 out of 285 athletes. His time was 26:44 on the five mile course at UC Riverside invitational.
Toscano Jr. ran in the Orange Coast Cross Country Invitational with a time of 21:04 on a four mile course, finishing in the top ten. This is his second season on the team.
He first found his interest in the sport at Jurupa high school, “I started running and I loved it,” Toscano Jr. said.
He identified his most intense event as running eight 400 meter competitions. When asked how he felt about his performance he said, “I did OK. I probably could have done better, but my stomach was hurting.”
Sophomore Fabien Pineda said he has been running since high school and Poly High School had a good program, but RCC’s program is much more structured. “This year at Orange Coast was my first time breaking 22 minutes; I ran a 21:56 on the four mile course.”