It took a strong showing from everyone to get it done, but the men’s cross-country squad was successful in qualifying for the State Championships on Saturday, Nov. 9.
“Everybody stepped it up,” Head Coach Steve Navarro said. “95 percent of our team set personal records.”
Leading the way for LPC was Abe Espinoza, who finished ninth out of 93 runners with a time of 20:39.85 in the 3.95-mile race.
While ninth place may not look great on paper, coach Navarro is aware of the stiff competition that was on hand in Folsom for the meet.
“It was a good run for Abe,” Navarro said. “The runners from American River and Hartnell are stars. Abe was not far off from them.”
American River, who was on their home course, and Hartnell College always seem to have the best squads in Northern California, and this year was no different. Four of their runners finished in the top five at the Nor Cal meet.
“I would have liked to finish better,” sophomore runner Abe Espinoza said. “But I’m still excited that we made state. Now it’s time to prepare for that.”
Runners Juan Morales, Timothy West and Adam White finished 14th, 16th and 17th, respectively, in order to help LPC secure a spot in Fresno for the state meet.
On the women’s side, the team fell just short of qualifying for state. However, Janae Mayfield’s time of 19:11.70 in the 2.90-mile race was strong enough to qualify as an individual runner for state. She will be making the trip down to Fresno to represent LPC.
“I’m excited,” Mayfield said. “It’s an honor to be competing with the best runners in the state.”
The Hawks will now get a little less than two weeks to prepare for the biggest meet of the year: the State Championships at Woodland Park in Fresno, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Coach Navarro is so confident in this year’s squad that he expects the men to run the best they have ever run at state.
“Our best finish was 18th,” Navarro said. “I think we can do better this time around.”
Even though there will be 28 schools represented, a strong performance from Espinoza, whom Navarro expects to finish at least in the top 10, could help make the team goal a reality.