News: A Grate Day Highlights Cross Country At SCC Finals
For an entire regular season, Pasadena City College head cross country coach Armand Crespo enjoyed the luxury of having two top racers on his 2013 women's team. But at the South Coast Conference Championships Friday at Long Beach's Heartwell Park, a third runner emerged to upstage the more heralded duo of Christina Shamirian and Tansica Sunkamaneevongse.
Brenda Grate, a freshman from Burbank's Burroughs High, grabbed All-SCC Second Team honors by finishing ninth overall in a PCC best time of 19 minutes, 38 seconds. It was the first time in eight meets that Grate had the fastest mark of a Lancers racer (Shamirian was tops in four meets, Sunkamaneevongse in two with both usually second to the other).
While Grate's race might have given PCC a big boost as well as a strong 18th place run by sophomore Kailaddni Chavez (20:03), the Lancers had to settle for fourth place overall of the seven conference schools (68 individual runners) participating over the 5-kilometer course.
The freshman Sunkamaneevongse placed 12th at 19:44 (also good enough for All-SCC Second Team) while Shamirian was 19th at 20:07. The two were expected to place among the top 10. PCC lost a tiebreaker to Cerritos for the third place spot (89 points for each team) as the sixth Falcons' runner placed higher than the Lancers' sixth racer.
Grate's placing meant PCC ended conference with an All-SCC runner for the fifth straight season and it was the third straight year in which the top Lancers runner took ninth. Last year, Diane Lombardi raced ninth and Elizabeth Lyons did the same in 2011.
"There were some really encouraging things for us with Brenda running her best race of the season and Kailaddni also part of our top three all race," Crespo said. "Christina was battling stomach issues and then ended up losing one of her shoes at one point, but she hung in there to reach the top 20. Tansica has been consistent for us all year. We had hoped for a higher team finish, but we feel good about placing high going into the final two big meets."
Freshman Edna Bailon was PCC's fifth best runner in 36th place (21:17) while frosh Ashley Medina was right behind her in 37th (21:21). First-year runner Emely Garcia was 47th (22:13), sophomore Linda Flores-Barillas took 49th (22:19) and freshman Kate Manzke placed 51st (22:46). Finally, frosh Marina Flores capped Lancers' runners in 53rd (23:00).
Mt. San Antonio won the conference team title while East Los Angeles runner Laura Aceves was individual SCC champ with her time of 18:12, 52 seconds faster than the second place racer.
MEN TAKE 6TH PLACE AT SCC CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Lancers had a tough time at the conference finals in placing sixth out of seven teams. Eighty-three runners took part in the men's race.
Sophomore Brendan Greene (La Canada High) once again was PCC's best at the SCC Championships with his 23rd place finish with a time of 21:27 over the 4-mile course.
The rest of the Lancers finished as follows: Ruben Torres, 40th, 21:59; Abraham Esparza, 46th, 22:15; David Moreno, 49th, 22:36; Oswel Caal, 50th, 22:37; Russell Yu, 52nd, 22:44; Chris Alagala, 54th, 22:58; Bryce Van Ross, 57th, 23:35; Faustino Gil, 63rd, 23:55; Sergio Andrade, 66th, 24:02; Pedro Lopez, 69th, 24:22; and Adam Akopyan, 73rd, 24:46.
Mt. SAC made it a team double for men and women with the conference title while Cerritos runner Elvis Salinas won the race at 20:21, edging out El Camino's Michael Nakahara (20:23) and Mt. SAC's Gabriel Ruano (20:24) at the finish line.
"We had a disappointing race," Crespo said. "We did not execute what we've been practing for the past few weeks. Brendan, Ruben, and Abraham picked us up, but we failed to pack up with the others."
The Lancers women and the PCC men's team (received final at-large berth) will be participating in the Southern California Championships on Friday, Nov. 8 at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
[Photo--Brenda Grate (middle of photo, 254 Lancers) placed All-South Coast Conference in ninth overall at the SCC Championships meet held Friday in Long Beach, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 11/01/2013