Cross country finishes strong at Biola Invite

Campus Times
October 10, 2003


by Jonathan Corral
Assistant Editor

In a preconference tune up, the Leopard cross-country team took its talents to the Biola University Invitational, which featured some of the top harrier teams in the area.

Despite the tough competition, the Leopards marched forward and gained even more confidence heading into the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship meet.

The ULV men were paced by sophomore Cecilio Barrera, who finished the five-mile course in 28:20, which landed him 14th place in a field of 89 runners.

The race was won by Biola University freshmen sensation Brian Baker, who lapped the field, winning with a time of 26:24, more than 30 seconds faster than the closest competitor.

As a team the Leopards finished fifth out of the nine teams entered. The race was won easily by a stacked Cal State San Marcos team that finished with six of its runners in the top 15. San Marcos finished with 33 points, well ahead of second place finisher Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with 86. Rounding out the top three was host Biola with 91 points. The Leopards finished with 128 points and an average team time of 29:30.

Other top finishers for the Leopards included Frank Huerta with a time of 29:13, Angel Guerrero (29:40), Kelly Wood, (29:56), Faisai Javed (30:20), Efrain Partida, (30:30), Ruben Trujillo (31:14) and Jose Chavez (35:05).

"We finished great as a team," said head coach Pat Widolff. "We were second in SCIAC."

The women fared well in a race that was nearly double the size of the men's race; the women's race fielded 143 runners.

Leading the way for the Leopards was their steady and consistent No. 1 runner, sophomore Alexis Candelaria, who finished 19th with a time of 20:26 for the 5,000-meter race.

"This was one of the most difficult courses we have had to run on," Candelaria said. "I'm not satisfied though. I know I can do better."

Melissa Sutton of Track West (track club), outclassed the field with her winning time of 18:41. Track West also captured the team title with relative ease. The ULV squad finished 10th out of the 15 teams entered in the race.

Not far behind Candelaria was senior Gloria Gomez, with a time of 20:47, good enough for 28th place.

Additional high scorers were Nicole Knight (23:17), Susan Ardon (27:03) and Lisandra Gonzalez (27:17).

"We are all satisfied with our places because we beat most of the teams in our conference," Candelaria said. "We now have to grow as a team for conference and regionals."

With this weekend off, the Leopards are back in action Oct. 18 in a SCIAC eight-way meet.