October 23, 2013

Fullerton Set to Host Titan Invitational

Titan Invitational Course Map 

FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams will compete in one final event before the Big West Championships as CSF will host the Titan Invitational on Friday at the Titan Track Complex.

The women's 5K race will begin at 4:45 p.m., on Friday followed by the men's 8K course that will start at 5:15 p.m.

THE COURSE: The start and finish of the race will be on the track at the Titan Track Complex, while the course loops around the grass recreation fields, and the concrete and asphalt pathways around the Titan Sports Complex. The course surface is approximately 30 percent grass and 70 percent concrete and asphalt.

THE FIELD: The women's field will include runners from Cal State Fullerton, Azusa Pacific, Orange Coast College, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, San Diego and UNLV. The men's field will include runners from Cal State Fullerton, Azusa Pacific, Loyola Marymount, Orange Coast College, Pepperdine, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA and San Diego.

RESULTS: Complete results and a recap will be posted on Fullertontitans.com and live results will be posted on www.episports.com.

LAST WEEK: The Cal State Fullerton cross country teams return to competition after a pair of third-place finishes at the Highlander Invitational last Saturday, in Riverside, Calif.

On the women's side, Katie Bathgate led the Titans finishing the 5K course with a time of 17:33.8, good enough for a fourth-place finish.

Bathgate, who recorded a personal best, was the only Titan finisher in the top-10, but was closely followed by Sara Taylor (11th; 17:58.9) and Arianna Fuentes (12th; 18:00.7).

Wyoming's women's cross-country team placed first with 54 points, followed by UC Riverside (64), Cal State Fullerton (65), San Diego State (92), USC (130), UC Irvine (134), Long Beach State (172), Cal State Northridge (130) and CSU Bakersfield (272).

On the men's side, junior Jayson Perez led Cal State Fullerton with a 12th-place overall finish (8th collegiate), completing the 6K course with a time of 18:13.4. It was the first 6K course the Titans competed in this season, and Perez's best finish of the year.

Freshman Gilbert Solorza, who battled hip flexor discomfort during the race, finished 46th after being the top Titan finisher in four races this season.

Top 3 Men's Finishers at Highlander Invitational    

Name                  Overall Finish                Points        Time 

Jayson Perez                12th                        8             18:13.4

Sean Graham                19th                        13            18:28.5

Brandon Perry               22nd                       16            18:32.0

Top 3 Women's Finishers at Highlanders Invitational

Name                  Overall Finish              Points        Time 

Katie Bathgate               4th                          4             17:33.8      

Sara Taylor                   11th                        11            17:58.9

Arianna Fuentes             12th                        12            18:00.7

LAST SEASON AT THE TITAN INVIATIONAL: Tijerra Lynch was the top finisher for the Titans. She finished 37th overall with a time of 19:01.3 for the women, and Cristian Aviles finished in 40th place for the Titan men, with a time of 26:05.0.

TITANS BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM SET: Competing in the Big West Championships will be Gilbert Solorza, Jayson Perez, Sean Graham, Brandon Perry, Jeff Little, Jose Penaloza, Donald Bernard, Daniel Ramirez and Kevin Russell. For the women's team that list is comprised of Katie Bathgate, Sara Taylor, Arianna Fuentes, Anna Valdovinos, Tijerra Lynch, Emily Taylor, Celinda Manzo, Amanda Crissinger and Abby Buckhoff.

ABOUT THE BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS: After five consecutive seasons, the Big West Cross Country Championships will move from Riverside to San Luis Obispo. Fairbanks Cross Country Course will host the championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 2 - the same site that hosted the event back in 2007. The men's 8K will start at 9:45 am, followed by the women's 6K at 10:40 am.

TITAN MEN FINISH THIRD AGAIN THIS SEASON: The Cal State Fullerton's men's team finished third at the Highlander Invitational, for the third time this season. The Titans finished with a point total of 78, trailing only Wyoming (1st, 18 points) and UC Irvine (2nd, 45 points). Fullerton's other two third place finishes came at the CSUSB Invite on Sept. 28, and at the Fresno Invitational on Sept. 14.

TITAN RUNNER CONTINUES TO LEAD THE WAY: For the third straight race, Katie Bathgate led the Titan women at the Highlander Invitational. She has led the Titan women four times this season. The other occurrences were at the Inter-Region Jamboree (Oct. 4), CSUSB Invite (Sept. 28), and at the Fresno Invitational (Sept. 14).

BIG WEST HONOR FOR TITAN: Junior Katie Bathgate claimed the Big West Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors on Oct. 1. Bathgate is the first Titan to earn weekly honors this season.

FRESHMEN MAKING AN IMPACT: Gilbert Solorza recorded the fastest times for the Titan men in the first four races of the season. 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, and at the Fresno Invitational, he ran a 20:02.9 four-mile course. Solorza finished sixth (first among Titans) at the Mustang Challenge with a time of 25:15:15 and at the Inter-Region Jamboree, he finished with a time of 24:46 in the 8k race. Freshman Joe Casco led the Titans with a fifth-place finish at the CSUSB Invite, clocking a time of 26:48.7.

FIRST PLACE FINISH FOR TITAN WOMEN: Junior Katie Bathgate led the Titans with a first-place performance, completing the 6k course at the CSUSB Invite with a time of 22:30.9. The first-place finish for the women was the program's first since winning the Northridge Invite on Oct. 16, 2009.

TITAN MEN FINISH SEOND: The Titan men recorded a second-place finish at the Mustang Challenge, which was the team's best finish since Sept. 3, 2011 when the team placed second at the Asics Season Opener.

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 athletes from last season and add 13 newcomers. On the women's side, nine total runners return and ten freshmen join the 2013 roster.