The San Diego Mesa men’s cross-country team claimed third place at the 2018 CCCAA State Championships on Saturday, November 17 in Fresno, CA (Woodland Park).
Mesa College finished with a total time of 1:45.06. In second place, El Camino College finished at 1:44.14, and eventual winner Mt. San Antonio College captured the title with a 1:43.32 time.
In the men’s individual race, two Olympians finished in the top 5. Freshman Isaiah Labra (Bonita Vista HS) captured 3rd place with a 20:25.7 time. Freshman Stefen Rasmuson (Mira Mesa HS) clocked in at 20:31.9 securing 5th place. Both athletes were named on the All-American team.
We caught up with head coach Sean Ricketts to discuss the success of the 2018 season. With an impressive finish to the season, the program is on its way to becoming the new powerhouse in the state.
What was the game plan going into the season? What was the strategy you implemented to have our athletes peak at the right time?
The game plan was to develop a positive and hardworking team culture. We also wanted to build a solid foundation with training in the summer and continue to progress throughout the season. Our training progression coincided with our race schedule from conference to regionals, and eventually the state championships.
All our team members understand that training and racing is a process, skipping any steps is never an option.
What was special about this team? Did you know you had something special at the beginning of the season?
We have a young team that has great work ethic. To be successful at this level, we asked all our athletes to be dedicated to their academics, program, and training. Furthermore, each of our student-athlete understands the tradition and legacy of the Mesa College cross country and track and field program.
We knew we had something special early. Our returners were dedicated from the start. They were consistent with our weight training program and never complained of what we asked from them. Coach Matthew Beckstead also did a tremendous job with our athletes. The relationship he’s established with them makes this whole system work.
Finishing in third-place vs. being the champion is separated by seconds. If there was something you would change strategically, what would it be?
COACH RICKETTS: Nothing. We are very proud of how the team executed the race plan. A handful of our team members were sick throughout the week. It was impressive to see them stay focused physically and mentally before and during the race.
• QUESTION: What’s one word you would describe this team?
COACH RICKETTS: Tradition
• QUESTION: What’s next for the program and what are the off season plans?
COACH RICKETTS: Our athletes will transition into preparing for track season. The focus will be the same, and that is to continue their development.
We are planning for Rasmuson and Labra to attend the USATF Jr. National Cross-Country meet in Florida where they’ll have an opportunity to qualify for the USA Jr. National Team.
Recruiting new Olympians who are talented and dedicated continues. Our goals for next season will be to chase the title once again and position our athletes to transfer to a four-year university.
From our athletic director Dr. Ryan Shumaker
We are so excited that our cross-country teams are in the capable hands of Sean Ricketts.
His attention to detail, his unparalleled work ethic in recruiting, and his genuine concern for what is best for his student-athletes combine for inevitable continued success.
The rise of cross-country at San Diego Mesa College is exciting and will surely carry over into our track and field program in the spring.
We are now the premier community college program in San Diego county and I look forward to continued improvements.