Cross country out-runs competition for first place win

Updated on Oct. 29 | Published on Oct. 22 | Written by Alec Calvillo and Dylan King

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The Riverside City College men and women’s cross-country team met Oct. 9 at the City of Riverside Course as the men’s team achieved a perfect score, and the women’s team finished third overall. A new course addition for runners this season made for a more challenging test of physical and mental fortitude.

RCC endured a four-mile run in Riverside’s 90-degree fall weather, as the runners competed against seven other teams.

“It’s a pretty good course, nice and flat,” first place winner, Joshua Silva said. “I liked it overall, just the heat was what it made it pretty challenging.”

Of the 36 cross-country athletes that ran the course, only five managed to get their times recorded for a team score. The Tigers got a perfect score of 15, meaning the first five finishers of the entire race were from RCC.

“It was the first time that I’ve been here that we’ve had a perfect score,” Head coach Jim McCarron said.

Silva led the pack in first place and finished with a time of 21:55.60. He was followed by Jeronimo Brito who finished in second place, while Anthony Arvizu secured a third place finish, Michael Simpson took fourth, and completing the perfect score was Chris Malloy who finished with a time of 22:19.56.

Silva has been seconds away from winning a race in the past, but hasn’t achieved first place until now.

“It was the first cross-country race I ever won,” he said.

Before the runners start a race, they must physically and mentally prepare for a cross-country meet. McCarron discussed the help he gives his players to get prepared for a race.

“They do weight training and core work, we talk to them about the important aspects of sleep, how important sleep is, and recovery,” McCarron said. “Sometimes we talk about eating, or what shoes they wear, little things that give them an edge. How to tie their shoes a certain way (gives them an advantage), even if that sounds ridiculous.”

The women’s cross-country team was successful as well. They scored 27 points, good enough for a first place finish. The low score indicated a top-level performance, as runner-up Chaffey College’s total of 46 points crystallized the wide margin of victory for the Tigers.

Sophomore Brianna Jacklin, who finished third overall with a time of 19:22.65, led the women’s team followed by freshman Natalie Vaughn took a fourth place finish. In fifth place was Crystal Tejada, while Liliana Vargas seized a 12th place finish and Alexis Lewis finished with a time of 21:04.06, which landed her 14th place in the race.

“I think of every race before the championship season as a good workout or practice,” Jacklin said.

Last year the women’s team won at the Irvine Regional Park course. “I’m hoping my team wins it, and I think we can win it. We got a lot more talent this year,” Jacklin said.

The women’s team looks to improve on times by closing in on times between runners,” said Damien Smith, women’s cross-country head coach. “We’re trying to close those gaps, it’s something we’re trying to work on.”
The Orange Empire Conference Finals are scheduled to be the next event at Irvine Regional Park on Oct. 30.