Gutierrez and Guzman set the pace for RCC cross country

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By Jennifer Espinoza / Staff Writer, Jarred Jackson / Editor’s Assistant

By Jennifer Espinoza / Staff Writer, Jarred Jackson / Editor’s Assistant

The Riverside City College men’s cross country team is seeking to improve from last season’s success.

The RCC’s key athletes to watch out for are Luis Gutierrez, who won the overall conference and John Guzman, who got third in state last season.

The Tigers ran well at the UC Riverside Invitational, finishing as the highest California community college team and finishing 10 out of 25 teams.  

UC Santa Barbara was the top team overall. Asked about the preparation for the UC Riverside Invitational and the Cross Country season, Coach Jim McCarron said. “Physically, we’ve had a good mile repeat session and we’re really working hard at practice.

Mentally, we are really focusing on the books right now making sure they’re staying on their studies.”

There are two athletes that are being looked at to lead the team this season. “Our top two guys are Luis Gutierrez and John Guzman; they are going to be No. 1 and No. 2,” McCarron said.

“The guys we really should be looking for are three, four, five; those are the ones who are going to decide if we win state. They really have to come together as a pack and if they’re running together and they are in the top 25 in races then we can win a title this year.” McCarron said.

All the athletes who run cross country are required to run track as part of the program.

“They always progress but some are better in one sport than the other but they pick up on it,” McCarron said.
“For instance, Bennett Harris was fourth in the state in 800 meters but he’s not one of our top guys in cross country but he is an awesome 800 runner.”

Guzman proved to be a top athlete on the team after he finished second at the Palomar Invitational to open the season. “John was the conference champion, he was third in the state in the 10,000 meters and seventh in the 5,000 meters as a freshman, so he is legit, and he is a guy that, he and Luis can go No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference championship this year,” McCarron said. “Our third, fourth, fifth, and sixth (runners) need to really step up. Guzman ran an incredible race finishing one minute faster than his time last year at this race.”

Guzman was sixth overall out of 175 runners and he ran an amazing 24:31. His time was the fastest time for a Tiger at the UCR Invitational in 24 years.  More importantly, his four mile split was 19:32, which is the distance that the Tigers will be racing at for the remainder of the season.  

His teammate, Gutierrez finished 29th overall with a time of 25:16 (20:02 for four miles), the fourth fastest time on this course in 24 years.

Brandon Johnson was the Tigers third finisher with a time of 26:10, a full minute faster than last season at this race.  

Danny Ybarra (26:46) and Brian Glassey (26:52) were the fourth and fifth finishers for the Tigers.

“This was a good test for the team, having the extra mile to run and running against top university competition we have a lot of work to do, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”

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