ORANGE -- Despite not having a finisher in the top 14, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers women's cross country team finished second at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California (SoCals) Regional Championships meet last Friday (Nov. 4.) at Irvine Regional Park.
Riverside will advance to the state championship meet in two weeks (Saturday, Nov. 19) which will be held at Woodward Park in Fresno.
The SoCal runner-up placement was the Tigers' best finish this decade and their eighth top-five finish in as many starts this season. In 2015, RCC placed fifth at the SoCals and was seventh in 2014.
Cuesta sophomore Miranda Daschian won the 5.0-kilometer race (3.1 miles) with a time of 18:12.3. Glendale won the team title with a total of 45 points.
Riverside, which tallied 128 points, was led by frosh Sarah Hollis (Hemet / Hemet HS '16), who was 15th overall (19:23.3), followed by sophomore Natalie Vaughn (Corona / Santiago HS '15), who was 19th overall (19:27.5), frosh Robin Valencia (Ontario / Ontario Christian HS '16), who was 21st overall (19:34.4), frosh Esther Shader (San Jacinto / San Jacinto HS '16), who was 33rd overall (19:56.4), and frosh Carissa Gomez (Highland / Citrus Valley HS '16), who was 46th overall (20:23.6).
The Tigers' sixth finisher was sophomore Nicole Cordero (Bloomington / Bloomington HS '12), who was 64th overall (20:27.2), followed by frosh Ariel Yepez (Riverside / John W. North HS), who was 90th overall (21:40.3).
Rounding out the top five team scores are third-place Mt. San Antonio College (194 points), fourth-place Saddleback (208), and fifth-place Los Angeles Harbor (233). The next five were Cuesta (238), Canyons (254), Ventura (269), Chaffey (302) and Orange Coast (336).
RCC sixth-year head women's cross country coach Damien Smith had tremendous praise on his racers. "That's (second place) the best finish I've had since I've been here," said Smith. "The team was ranked fourth before the meet."
And there's a reason that a team can finish in the top five without a top ten finisher.
"Our gaps were great (small) in this race. That's important because we have no front runners," continued Smith.
(Assistant coach) "Michael Wilson has been doing a great job with the racers this year," concluded Smith.
Full results can be found on directathletics.com and socaltiming.com.