FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country will compete in their second meet of the 2017 season on Saturday morning at the UC Riverside Invitational. The meet takes place at the UCR Agricultural Operations Course and there will be four races with the first to begin at 7:30 a.m. PT and the fourth to commence at 9:10 a.m.
The women's invitational 6,000-meter race is set to start a 7:30 a.m. PT. Nine Titans are allowed to compete in that race while any additional Titans must be entered in the women's open 5K race that begins at 8:40 a.m. The meet entry rules for both the men and women state that a maximum of nine athletes can compete in the invitational races so any additional entries must run in the open race.
On the men's side, the invitational 8K invitational race kicks off at 8:05 a.m. that will feature nine Titans while the 8K open race commences at 9:10 a.m.
"This meet is going to be a little more challenging and the competition level will be greater," head coach John Elders said. "It will be a good marker for where we're actually at as a team. Based on what I've seen from our groups in training the last few weeks, I think we're ready to perform at a high level. I think we're up to the challenge and it should be an exciting weekend for us."
The Titans started off the season on a high note on Sep. 2 when they hosted the Mark Covert Classic at Carbon Canyon Regional Park. The men's team won the 8K overall team competition while the women won the 5K. The Titans were led by junior Samuel Pimentel, who took fourth place overall, on the men's side and freshman Wendi Leos, who was the runner up in the women's race.
"I was really pleased with how we ran at the Mark Covert Classic," Elders said. "It was a good way to start the season."
Each of the five Titans that scored for the women's team were underclassmen. Leos, Trinity Ruelas (seventh place) and Gabriella De La Rosa (14th place) are all freshmen while Sam Huerta (fifth place) and Sandra Flores (15th place) are both sophomores.
Sophomores Jorge Sanchez (fourth place) and Freek van de Weerd (12th place) had strong season debuts along with senior Joe Casco (20th place) at the Mark Covert Classic. Freshman Jacob Smith took 16th place in his first-ever collegiate competition and contributed to a Titan victory.
Both teams are ranked No. 15 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) week one regional rankings. Both teams remained 15th in the west region and ranked third among Big West Conference members like they were in the preseason rankings.
The Titans return eight student-athletes from the men's squad that took third place at the 2016 Big West Championships. That third-place finish was the team's best finish at the league championships since 1993. The women's team welcomes back six student-athletes from the 2016 squad that took fourth place at the league championships.
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