Victoria Randall | Staff Writer
The RCC cross country team competed in it’s first race of the season, easing the pre-race jitters and earning a second place win at the Palomar Invitational. Sophomore Marissa Jiminez, one of RCC’s runners, placed second overall with a time of 20:13.11.
This year the women’s cross country team is twice as big as last year with a roster of 20 girls. 13 of them freshman, including, Jaelee Hubbard, Justine Jacobs, and Emily Russi.
After months of preparation, they took on nine other schools at the Palomar Invitational on Sept. 6 in Oceanside, Calif.
On an especially hot day, the Tigers raced on a 3.1 mile dirt course.
Being so early in the season coach Damien Smith said the goal was to “run fast and have a good time.”
He hopes to “place within the top five.” This race they did just that.
At the first mile, the Tigers stuck together, running at a 6:30 minute pace.
By mile two, Jiminez was maintaining a strong lead followed not too far behind by her teammates.
Within the last mile, the close intervals of orange and black dispersed as Jiminez fought to keep her lead, but in the last stretch a runner from Fullerton pulled ahead to take first place.
Jiminez was “only behind her by a couple of steps” says Coach Smith.
Jiminez “felt she did her best” and stated that she “ran the course in high school as well as last year, but it was a lot harder because of the heat.”
She attributes her success to positive thinking, advising her teammates to, “stay strong mentally, and focus a lot on the positive aspects you have as a runner,” and “not too think to much about how the other girls compare.”
Freshman Isi Ibarra came in third place with a time of 21:03.53 while fellow Freshman Halina Carrera came in seventh with a time of 21:30.25
Coach Smith is proud of the team. “They did good for their first race,” he said. For future races he says the team needs to, “ group it together more, be closer to their teammates.”
While the women were running, the men were warming up for their race.
They were prepared for the four mile race.
Coach Jim McCarron reminded the runners to “always know your terrain at the start, finish line, and any advantages/oddities of the course.”
“We just finished up base training” McCarron said “The guys are really focused and are just getting started.”
Freshman Robert Lopez took second place with a time off 21:26.81 and felt he did “pretty good” but next time says he will “ get more rest and take the first mile a little slower.” He felt prepared, as the coaches
“Give excellent workouts”
He says that when you feel like giving up to “work harder when you hit the wall.”
The average time for the team was 22:31 with Douglas Negrete coming in eigth with a time of 22:15.86. Yovany Lopez came in thirteenth with a time of 22:45.12.
Andrew Coupe followed directly behind at 22:47.99.
Coach McCarron says, “The goal is to pack up, to get four or five guys within 10-15 seconds of each other.” The next race for men is Friday, Sept. 13 at the So Cal Preview in Santa Clarita and for women Saturday, Sept. 14 at the UCR Invitational.