FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads continue the 2013 season this weekend on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Fresno Invitational hosted by Fresno State. The men's four-mile run and the women's 5k course will be held at historic Woodward Park in Fresno, Calif. The men's invite race will start at 9 a.m. followed by the women's invite race at 9:45 a.m.
FRESNO INVITATIONAL: The race will take place at Woodward Park (7775 N. Friant Rd, Fresno, Calif. 93720). This weekend's meet will be Fresno State's first home meet since hosting the 2006 WAC Championship.
THE COURSE: Scenic Woodward Park, located in north Fresno, has played host to 14 NCAA Regional Cross Country Championships since the tournament's inaugural year of 1968. The park most recently hosted the 2004 NCAA Western Region Championship and the 2006 WAC Championships.
For the past three decades, the park has not only been utilized as the base for all of Fresno State's home meets, but has quickly become one of the most well-traveled cross country courses in the state. Woodward Park has hosted more major cross-country competitions than any other site on the West Coast, including high school and junior college championship meets.
A mild rolling terrain, Woodward's course is 30 percent asphalt and 70 percent grass and dirt trails. The park runs several courses of varying lengths, including four, five, eight and 10-mile courses. All of the courses cover the same area and repeat many of the same miles, with the first mile identical for all courses.
At all levels, Woodward Park has become an important developmental cross country course. The courses have remained the same through the years, allowing for consistent times and records.
THE FIELD: Competing alongside the Titans and Bulldogs will be squads from Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, San Jose State, UC Merced, and William Jessup.
RESULTS: Complete results will be posted on Fullertontitans.com at the end of the meet.
LAST TIME OUT: The Titans kicked off the 2013 season over Labor Day Weekend at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea, Calif., competing in their annual meet, the Mark Covert Classic. The Fullerton men finished in second behind LMU with 42 points. Freshman Gilbert Solorza finished fourth among collegians (25:53) followed by teammate Brandon Perry who finished in seventh with a time of 26:11. Nine Titan men finished in the top 20. The Titan women finished fourth with 95 points, while LMU also won the team meet for collegiate women. Fullerton was led by 10th place finisher Lauren McIntyre who had a time of 18:56. Sophomore Emily Taylor was the next Titan finisher with a time of 19:04 finishing 13th overall.
Top 3 Men Finishers at Mark Covert Classic
Gilbert Solorza 25:53.5 9th
Brandon Perry 26:11.3 13th
Jayson Perez 26:14.2 15th
Top 3 Women Finishers at Mark Covert Classic
Arianna Fuentes 18:55.9 11th (Unattached)
Lauren McIntyre 18:56.7 12th
Emily Taylor 19:04.2 15th
*Overall Place Finished
FRESHMEN MAKING AN IMPACT: In their first collegiate races, Gilbert Solorza and Arianna Fuentes both recorded the fastest times for the Titans at the Mark Covert Classic. Solorza, a native of Buena Park, Calif., ran a 25:53.5 8k, which was 18 seconds faster than the next Titan finisher. Fuentes, who competed as an individual, ran a 18:55.9 5k, which finished just ahead of Lauren McIntyre.
LONGEST-TENURED COACH: As the 2013 season gets underway, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders enters his 26th season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton.
Elders was tied with former fencing head coach Heizaburo Okawa (1982-2006) and former men's soccer coach Al Mistri (1981-2005) for 25 years of service at Fullerton. The Orange County native coaches cross country, women's indoor track and field, and men's and women's outdoor track and field and is one of three current Titan head coaches who have graduated from Cal State Fullerton joining men's soccer head coach Bob Ammann and women's soccer head coach Demian Brown.
A LOOK AT THE 2013 TITANS: The men return five of the seven runners who competed at the conference championships, while the women return three. However, last season's top female runner Emily Taylor missed the conference championships due to an injury. The Titan men return 15 players from last season and add 13 newcomers. On the women's side, nine total runners return and ten freshmen join the 2013 roster.
SEASON PREVIEW: Cal State Fullerton head coach John Elders sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2013 season. Filmed by department videographer Matt Brown.
UP NEXT: The Titans return to the course next weekend when they make a trip to Santa Clarita, Calif., for the Mustang Challenge hosted by The Master's College on Saturday, Sept. 21. The meet will take place at Central Park, 27200 Bouquet Canyon Rd.