The Riverside City College men’s cross country team broke RCC’s men’s cross country dry spell and won the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship for the first time in 22 years at Fresno’s Woodward Park on Nov. 19.
The Tigers not only ended the 22 year dry spell, but they are also the first Orange Empire Conference team to win state championships in 12 years.
Head coach Jim McCarron has won titles with the track and field team six out of the last eight years as the sport’s head coach. This win however, marks the first time that McCarron has won as the head coach for cross country.
“It feels like its all new again which is great,” McCarron said. “It’s like a new different wonderful feeling … It’s been so long and it’s good to start this new state tradition in cross country.”
The Tigers, who have won the OEC title back to back in the last two years have come a long way from their cross country camp in Big Bear.
“We knew from day one that we would go to state,” McCarron said. “We knew that we were going to be in the top five at the end of camp.”
Sophomore Michael Simpson finished before sophomore Joshua Silva did. Simpson finished seventh overall in the race with a time of 20:33.
“We couldn’t believe it, we dropped and we all started to cry, hug and congratulate one another,” Simpson said.
Silva finished 10th overall in the race with a time of 20:36, with teammate Cade Clark following with 20:57.
“I knew that if Michael beat me and the others wanted to beat me that we would win,” Silva said.
When the Tigers reached the last mile of the race McCarron along with his assistant coach Mike Wilson were there to cheer the team on.
“In the last mile they passed a lot of people and seeing their strengths and the hard work they did pay off was really neat to see,” McCarron said.
“We told them at the last mile that they had a chance at winning,” McCarron said. “You could see the light and smile that was on their faces.”
The team won first place with an overall time of 1:44:21 beating Glendale Community College who had a time of 1:44:53 finishing second and Mt. San Antonio College finishing in third with 1:45:15.
“Everyone is (said) that they (wanted) to win state, everyone that has the potential like Glendale, Mt. SAC and San Bernardino,” Silva said. “But only one team (was) really going to (win) it.”