The San Diego Mesa men’s and women’s cross-country team traveled to Oregon this weekend to compete in the prestigious Charles Bowles Invitational.
The invitational which is held at Willamette University features some of the top cross-country programs in the nation.
The Cardinal Division features NCAA Division I, II, and III programs. The Gold Division highlights the top programs in the NAIA, junior college, open and club divisions.
“This is an important trip for us,” states head coach Sean Ricketts. “We want our athletes to experience how to travel and prepare for meets while having to travel across state lines. We also want to battle against four-year programs and other powerhouse community colleges like Lane and Spokane Community College.
Besides the competition, the coaching staff also scheduled an inside tour of the Nike World Headquarters.
“We prepare our athletes for everything in our program,” adds Ricketts. “We bring them up here for recruiting exposure, but we also want to show them that they too should think and dream big. Touring around the Nike World Headquarters and all the history of past cross-country champions can serve as an example that if they can do it, why can’t we.”
Stefen Rasmuson won the Men's Gold Divison (NAIA, Community College, Unnatached, Club), with a decisive move over the last 1.5 miles to finish the 8k course in 24:36, which was also the fastest overall time of the day including the Cardinal Division Race (NCAA Division 1, 2, and 3 schools). Isaiah Labra finished 3rd in 24:40 (4th Fastest time of the day), Medhane Woldu 18th place and Cristian Alcantar 19th place both were clocked in 25:25, and closing out a strong team finish was Bobby Brana crossing the line in 22nd place with a time of 25:31. The Olympians were edged by 2 points (48-50) to finish 2nd place to Northwest powerhouse Spokane Community College and beat NAIA nationally ranked (18th) Eastern Oregon University by 57 points.
The Women's team had four runners finish within 25 seconds of each other who ran as a pack most of the race in the Women's Gold Division. Yahaira Zuniga paced the squad by finishing 63rd with a time of 20:59 over the 5k distance and was followed by Beyonce Wright 67th place 21:09, Adriana Leal 69th place 21:13, Grace Calegari 74th place 21:24, and rounding out the scorers was MyKenzie Belliotti 88th place 22:00.
Both squads are scheduled to compete in the Brubaker Invite in Irvine, CA. on Friday, October 11 at Irvine Regional Park. The race is scheduled for a 10:00 a.m. start.
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