The Riverside City College men's and women's cross country team kicked off their 2018 campaign this past Friday by hitting the trails in Arroyo Verde Park at the Ventura College Invitational. Both sides earned a sizable victory as they each hauled in the gold medal to set the pace for the season.
The men were the only team that saw three competitors land in the top-10. Sophomore and reigning Orange Empire Conference (OEC) Runner of the Year Enrique Villa picked up right where he left off last season with a second place finish. He recorded a finishing time of 22:35.5. Sophomore Austin Dai followed suit by landing in fifth-place with a mark of 23:27.13.
Freshman Tyler Graves strung together a solid debut by placing eighth overall at a clip of 23:52.83. Freshman Matthew Lieberman rounded out the top finishers with a 12th place showing coming in at 24:08.72.
"We had a good race plan to stay back for the first wo miles then work our way up to mile three and four," said Head Coach Jim McCarron. "The guys really showed patience and good packing skills and followed the race plan to take the team title."
Like the men, the women saw more participants in the top-10 than any other team. Sophomore Sujey Esteva paced the pack of Tigers by recording a team-best mark of 23:21.69 thus earning a fourth-place showing. Freshman Emiliana Merida Cano was nipping at her heels with a fifth-place finish at 23:25.69 in her Tiger debut.
Freshman Savannah Dinco experienced a strong inaugural run with eighth-place showing with a time of 24:06.46. Freshman Ariel Martinez finished close behind in 11th place with a time of 24:32.70.
"I am really proud of how we executed the race plan," said Head Coach Damien Smith. "This is avery young team with only two sophomores and that's not easy to do with mostly freshman on the team."
The Tigers will continue action on Friday, September 7 at the Palomar Invitational at Guajome Park in Oceanside, CA.