PCC Men "Places" As Team: A First At State Cross Country Meet In 11 Years
For each of the previous six meets, the Pasadena City College men's team was paced by its fastest runner in each of the events--freshman Francis Lee. But on Saturday at the CCCAA State Championships, a different Lancer emerged to run a big race.
Kevin Cano, a sophomore who returned from the 2009 team, placed 77th overall with a time of 21:49.39 to lead all Lancers over the 4-mile course at Fresno's Woodward Park. Unfortunately, Lee hurt his back early in the race and did not finish.
The Lancers placed 22nd as a team out of 28 scoring colleges, but it was a significant accomplishment for the program. PCC had not qualified as a team for the state meet in 11 years before grabbing an at-large for this year's championship. PCC took ninth in 2001.
Freshman Faustino Gil was the next PCC finisher in 132nd place (22:16.01). The rest of the Lancers placed as follows: freshman Oswel Caal, 144th, 22:29.99, sophomore Brian Sacripanti, 146th, 22:33.08, freshman Brendan Greene, 150th, 22:39.49, and freshman Charlie Camacho, 161st, 22:46.57.
PCC head coach Armand Crespo was excited about his team despite the modest placing.
"Here we are trying to place and then our best runner hurts his back and can't score," Crespo said. "So for the rest of our runners to pick it up and give us a placing, I'll take 22nd over not at all. The important thing is both of our men's and women's teams were racing at the state meet instead of just as individuals. This was a big step for the program."
Three years ago, Crespo ended a eight-year absence from the state meet for the women's team. The women placed 15th at this year's meet.
"It's not like mission accomplished because the two teams were running together at state. We have a lot more work to do to get to the level of some of the more elite programs. But 2012 ended an inconsistent period of time for our two cross country teams."
[Photo--Kevin Cano (291, from Montebello High) was the suprising top finisher for the Lancers men's team Nov. 17 at the CCCAA State Champioships at Fresno's Woodward Park, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]