By Celeste Walter
By Celeste Walter
The Riverside women’s cross country team lept into fourth place in the final rankings at the SoCal Championship event in Bakersfield on Nov. 7.
The team will move on to the state championships where they will compete against 23 other California colleges.
The state championships will be held at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 22.
Even though the Tigers ran the Fresno course earlier in the season, they must now focus on adapting to the winter conditions.
“Their current training is geared to simulate climatic variations common to the Fresno area during this time of year,” coach Mike Barbee said.
Barbee seemed pleased with the performance of the team at both the SoCal Championships and the conference championships.
“There were only 28 seconds between the first and the fifth runners in the SoCal Championships who placed anywhere from 12th to 30th, we were the tightest grouping, the best pack, we just started scoring too late.” Barbee said.
Sophomore Casey Glassey placed 11th out of the 196 runners during the Nov. 7 event.
She recently led Riverside at the Nov. 1 conference championship placing fourth while earning one of the five conference honors issued to Riverside.
“Casey Glassey was 15th in the quarter mile and moved up to 11th to finish,” Barbee said.
Freshman Natalia Richeri was second in line for Riverside, placing 19th overall in the SoCal event. Richeri placed sixth during the conference championship.
Richeri received an honorable mention in the October edition of Athletes of the Month, published by the California Community College Athletic Association.
She was recognized for her performance at the Fresno City College Invitational and the UC Riverside Invitational where she was the second highest finisher among community college runners.
Freshman Larissa Davis placed 22nd in the event and was third in the Riverside lineup.
Davis placed fourth at the conference championships, earning conference honors.
Davis showed improvements during the event.
“She had never been better than our fourth or fifth runner and she was our third, running just one second behind Natalia with a personal best for her of almost 42 seconds,” Barbee said.
Freshman Katherine Gomez placed 29th in the event and was fourth to place on the Riverside team.
Gomez placed ninth at the conference championships winning conference honors.
Sophomore Arianna Celis placed 66th in the event and was Riverside’s sixth runner to cross the finish line.
Celis placed 11th at the conference championships and was the fifth team member to receive conference honors.
According to Barbee, the course was not an easy one. “It was a challenging course with sand and hills,” he said.
“This was just a great effort by everyone, most of the team improved on their previous time,” Barbee said.
The event did allow for improvements on past records set by Riverside athletes.
This was the best result in Riverside City College history.
The average for 5000 meters was 18:54.
“Our previous school record was from UCR where we had an average of 18:59. We set the record in 2004 with a 19:13 average,” Barbee said.
“We really blew the school record out of the water.”
The team is focusing on key competitors for the upcoming event.
“We are going to focus on Glendale and Mt. San Antonio and hope that we get in the top three, but realistically we are looking at fourth.” Barbee said.
In addition to the southern colleges, Barbee said the team would be keeping an eye on the northern Sequoia College as well.
“Fourth would be a fantastic result for the upcoming event,” Barbee said.
The team members who remained behind continued to carry the team spirit as a select few moved forward to represent Riverside.
Astyne Price was just returning from an injury when she competed in the conference championship.
Though she was not able to earn a slot in the SoCal event, she was pleased that she was able to improve on her previous time.
Although Price couldn’t advance, she expressed great pride in the team and confidence in the outlook for state championships.
“The girls that are competing are strong and will do well,” Price said.