Playoffs have begun for the Riverside City College cross country programs as both sides competed in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) Championships at Irvine Park hosted by Irvine Valley College. The women placed second for the second-consecutive year, while the men followed suit with a second place finish.
The women earned a second-place finish with two of their top runners landing in on the podium. Four Tigers landed in the top-10 as well. Sophomore Emiliana Merida Cano has been one of the strongest and the most consistent runners for the Tigers and continued to prove her worth in the final stages.
Merida Cano placed second overall with a mark of 21:10.74. It is the third top-10 finish and fourth top-20 finish on the year. Sophomore Ariel Martinez placed third overall by a mere four seconds. She crossed the tape with a mark reading 21:14.60.
Freshman Briana Rodriguez strung together one of her strongest performances with a sixth place finish at a mark of 21:28.31. Freshman Aeriel Madrigal rounded out the top-10 with a ninth place finish at 21:42.16.
The men's four-year streak of winning conference was snapped by Orange Coast by a slight margin. Six Riverside runners finished in the top-15 highlighted by freshman Jordan Wilson. He continued to pace the pack with a sixth place finish. He completed his jaunt at a mark of 22:34.92, which was under a second away from finishing top five.
Sophomore Ricardo Cruz placed eighth overall with a mark of 22:46.38, backed by freshman Cody Patrick placing ninth at a time of 22:56.44. Freshman Alberto Lopez capped the top-10 with a mark of 22:56.79.
The Tigers will continue action on Friday, November 8 at the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championships. The top 14 teams will compete at the state meet two weekends to follow.