Cross Country Places 18th at Orange Coast Invitational

The invitational held every year, attracts many schools in a fun and competitive event that tests each school's performance. The invitational held this year was a 5000 meter course. The SMC Lady Corsairs were wearing their traditional blue sport uniforms as each player was pumped and ready to compete in the event.

Luckily, the weather on the day of the competition was sunny with a little bit of wind. The temperature and environment made a great impact on the runners' performances.

Coach Eric Barron said, "For this competition, we were missing our best runner. We placed 18th but we could have placed a little bit higher. It was a fast course, with a lot of hard packed dirt and asphalt.

"The hills on the course were reasonable and the temperature was also good with a clear sky. Two of the girls were beginners and it was their first cross country race. We need to gain experience and do more conditioning to run better. The girls were cautious to start the race, but next time they need to be a little bit more aggressive."

The race was a spectacle of many different schools all ready to run and promote their teams at the meet.

Karissa Gonzalez, a freshman nursing major at SMC who placed first in the Santa Monica women's team said, "I like the course. It felt good. It was easy to run the course because of the weather. The course didn't have as many hills, but I could have sprinted faster towards the end."

Dana Johnson, a freshman anthropology major said, "It was a good course with a couple of hills, a little bit of dust due to winds, but it went by fast."

Originally from North Carolina, she is used to running in the forest with trees, so this was "like running in a desert." Johnson, who placed second in the Santa Monica team race said, "I could have gone harder during the middle. We were being a bit conservative and could have run a little harder in the beginning."

Orange Coast College placed first at the meet, second place went to Cerritos College, third to Mt. San Antonio College, and fourth went to Santa Ana.

Out of a total of 19 spots, Santa Monica placed 18th with a total time of two hours, seven minutes and 30 seconds. From the SMC team Karissa Gonzalez placed 76th, Dana Johnson placed 81st, Jessica Pineda placed 117th, Celeste Jones placed 164th, Polina Mareninova placed 168th, and Vanessa Valladres placed 172nd. There were a total of 178 runners participating in the race.

At the end of the race, the women treated themselves to a bunch of fluffy pancakes prepared for them by the cross country meet.

The women's cross country team is also looking for any additional SMC students who are interested in running and joining the team. If any students are interested they should contact Coach Barron of the women's cross country team by email or telephone.