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News: 2014 PCC Preview: Cross Country In Preparation Mode

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In his eighth season as Pasadena City College head coach for men's and women's cross country, Armand Crespo talked about how the season's meets become a process.

"You're always trying to get better and improve each event like in any sport, but the individuals are working on conditioning," Crespo said. "It's not about how you do in the first few meets, it's about getting the student-athletes to buy into team philosophy and challenging themselves to be better runners. At the end of the season, the hope is you have them at peak condition and prepared to run well at conference, regionals, and then state."

Crespo's Lancers opened the 2014 season Saturday when they ran in the annual Mark Covert Classic meet held at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea. The PCC men were among five California Community Colleges competing in the open meet. The Lancers ended up trailing the field in eight place overall. 

However, freshman Nathan Guzman (Salesian High) finished 39th overall (111 racers) and 16th best in the community college group. Guzman, who is the younger brother of recently graduated PCC women's basketball player Averie-Alice Guzman, covered the 8-kilometer course in 28 minutes, 32.5 seconds. 

Another newcomer Emilio Barragan-Steimer (Gabrielino High) took 67th at 30:05.7. His older sister also had a PCC connection in Arielle, who was a 2-year letterman in 2011-12 for the women's cross country team. 

In 71st place at 30:11.8 was Celso Martinez (Burbank High), who Crespo feels give the Lancers a strong trio of first-year runners to go with returning sophomores Sergio Andrade, Pedro Lopez and Russell Yu (did not run this meet). Lopez placed 77th (30:38.9) and Andrade was 93rd (31.50). Freshman Eric Bravo (Don Bosco Tech) finished in 79th at 30:50.4.

PCC's 10-man roster is rounded out by three Temple City High products in Andrew De La Santos, Ty Morris and Gabe Walden.

"For the first time in several years, I think we potentially could have a stronger men's team than women," Crespo said. "We have more than a few runners who will compete strongly against the competition. The freshmen corps is a good one." 

LETTERMEN FILL LANCERS WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY 

Pasadena's eight-person women's roster is a veteran group with only one newcomer in freshman Rebecca Serrano (Burbank High). 

Six ladies return from a '13 squad that placed fourth in the South Coast Conference, 10th in the region and 14th in the state. Another is Tessa Chandler, a returner from the 2011 team, one of PCC's best squads under Crespo that finished 10th at the CCCAA state meet. 

Leading the returning sophomores is All-SCC Second Team selection Tansica Sunkamaneevongse, who finished the highest of all Lancers at state in 35th place. The rest of the Lancers are made up of Ashley Medina, Kate Manzke, Edna Bailon, Karen Caal, and Marina Flores.

At the season-opening Covert Classic, only three Lancers participated in a small field of 55 racers. Medina was the top PCC finisher in 25th place at 21:40.4 over the 5-kilometer course. Manzke placed 34th (22:27.4) and Flores was 47th (24:20.3).

"We have a veteran group, which is great, but it's hard to know if we have enough to pick up their times as the season progresses," Crespo said. "We've been blessed to have some strong women's teams the last several years. We will see how this one can fare in the big races."

The Lancers expect to field their full team on Friday, Sept. 5 at the Rio Hondo Classic held at El Monte's Legg Lake course. The PCC men will also be in action.

PCC's 2014 complete schedule is at the link below:

http://www.pasadena.edu/athletics/schedule.cfm?dept=cross

[Photo--PCC's Nathan Guzman (138, left side) is in the pack here during Saturday's Mark Covert Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton in Brea. Guzman is one of the Lancers top freshmen in 2014, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 08/31/2014
Contact: Robert Lewis , Sports Information
Phone: (626) 585-7018
Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu