By Celeste Walter
By Celeste Walter
The Tigers are running down the dream of a state championship.
The Riverside City College men’s cross country team placed sixth out of 28 southern California junior colleges during the SoCal Championship event held at Kern Sports Park in Bakersfield on Nov. 7.
The team will compete at the state championship being held at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 22.
Sophomore Juan Ruiz led the Riverside team, placing 18th in the 202 man event, while cutting 1:13 off his time from the same event last year.
Ruiz led the Riverside team during the recent conference championships, and placed second overall. He also received conference honors.
Ruiz felt the team as a whole had become stronger mentally and physically
“It is amazing once we come together as a team, it appears as though we will do well at state, maybe even surprise ourselves,” Ruiz said.
Freshman Jeffrey Pelarde followed close behind Ruiz, placing 20th overall and second on the Riverside team during the championship.
Pelarde placed third overall at the Nov. 1 conference championship meet while he was second on the Riverside team.
He also received conference honors.
“I have seen what the team can offer in the last two races,” Pelarde said. “Hopefully we can bring the state championship back to Riverside.”
Freshman Daniel Cooper placed 38th in the SoCal event moving up to third of the Riverside athletes to complete the course.
When asked how he felt about overall performance Cooper said the team had not accomplished the primary goal of winning, “but hopefully we can achieve our goals in the next few weeks,” he said. “I think talent wise we are one of the top teams, we just have to prove it.”
Edward Jesse Alvarado placed 65th in the SoCal Championship event, moving up to fourth place for Riverside athletes completing the course.
Alvarado placed fifth of Riverside athletes completing the conference championships course while he placed 17th overall.
Sophomore Rafael Toscano Jr. placed 79th in the SoCal Championship event, while being the fourth Riverside athlete to cross the finish line.
His performance at the conference championship placed him at 19th, while he was the sixth Riverside athlete to cross the finish line.
Toscano ran 1:10 faster at the Nov. 7 event than his previous time on the Bakersfield course.
Angel Sigeti placed 136th in the SoCal event.
“This is my first race on this course, but I did practice on the course during the Oct. 3 Southern California Preview,” Sigeti said.
Sigeti placed 10th in the conference championships held at Fairview Park, while he was third of the Riverside team to cross the finish line.
Coach Jim McCarron identified the improved times of many of the athletes on the men’s cross country team.
“If the team finishes in the top nine, it will be the team’s best ranking since 1993 and this is a team that can finish in the top nine or better,” McCarron said.