A combined nine runners for the Riverside City College men's and women's cross country team finished in the top-20 at the 2019 Redlands Invitational Saturday morning to begin this year's campaign with a bang. The men placed first in the 6K jaunt, while the women hauled in third place in the 4.5K excursion.
The men edged out crosstown competitor San Bernardino for first place with a team mark reading 1:41:48. They defeated a pair of Division III teams in Caltech (3rd place) and the University of Redlands (4th place).
"I was really proud of the guys," said Head Coach Jim McCarron. "I thought they ran great and I was very impressed with how they came out during the first meet."
With success comes strategy. The RCC coaching staff is well aware of that.
"I look forward to growth," said McCarron. "Every time just getting better. And if they make a mistake, we learn from it."
The Tigers saw five runners place in the top-20 with freshman Jordan Wilson carrying his squad. He crossed the finish line with a mark of 19:57 to earn fourth overall. He utilized a 5:22 average mile time. Freshman Alberto Lopez was not far behind as he placed in the top-10 at seventh overall. He clocked in at 20:14 with an average mile time reading 5:26.
Jared Mallon chipped in to the overall score with a 13th place finish at 20:26, while freshman Vincent Capacete rounding out the top-20 with an 18th place finish at a time of 20:35.
The women placed third en route to defeating Division III University of LA Verne, while edging the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Champion LA Harbor. RCC finished with a team time of 1:33:35.
"The meet went well," Said Head Coach Damien Smith. "Especially for the freshman to get their first meet jitters out of the way. That was the main thing today; learn how to run."
The Tigers saw four runners land in the top-20 paced by sophomore Emilia Merida-Cano. She placed ninth overall with a clip of 18:15. She earned a 6:32 average mile mark. Sophomore Ariel Martinez was not far behind in 11th place with a time of 18:29.
"Out sophomores stepped up," Said Smith. "Emilia got better and Ariel got better. They are true leaders of the team."
Sophomore Aily Camacho was the next-best finisher with a mark of 18:57 to land in 20th place, while freshman Corrine Melendez (21st – 19:04) and freshman Briana Rodriguez (22nd – 19:10) followed suit.
Riverside will continue action on Friday, September 6 at the Palomar Invitational.