Cross Country Preview: Sights Set on CCCAA State Championships

Photos by Bobby R. Hester
Photos by Bobby R. Hester

Run faster than the next.

That is essentially what every average joe think when discussing the art of cross country. However, there is more to the craft than a simple one foot in front of the other mentality. It is about strategy, groupings, proper form and a perfect pace. The Riverside City College cross country program has perfected that art in the past and continues to do it moving forward.

This Saturday, both the men and women move forward into the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships. Both sides recently participated in the CCCAA Southern Regional Championships with the women placing third overall and the men placing fourth overall.

The women are paced by a pair of runners in sophomore duo Emiliana Merida Cano and Ariel Martinez.

Merida Cano was just shy of hauling in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) Individual Title after placing second at the conference championships, marking her strongest finish of the year. In six races this season, she has landed on the podium twice with two silver medals and has yet to place lower than 15th in community college action.

Martinez has had a strong season as she has only continued to get stronger. She had her strongest finish of the season by placing third overall at the OEC Championships backed by a pair of sixth-place finishes. She has participated in eight meets and has not placed lower than 17th overall.

For the men, it has been a plethora of performers that have contributed to the overall success. However, freshman Jordan Wilson has stood out amongst the rest.

Wilson has had success throughout the season highlighted by four top-10 finishes and a fourth-place finish at the Redlands Invitational to begin the season. He recently placed sixth at the OEC Championships at 19th at the Southern Regional Championships.

Freshman Alberto Lopez has strung together some solid performances with three top-10 finishes. Freshman Cody Patrick has come on strong late in the campaign with a ninth place finish at the OEC Championships and a top-35 finish at Southern Regionals.