CLAREMONT, Calif. - For the second consecutive year Whittier Cross Country claims an individual title at the Pomona Invitational. In 2017, 2-time National Qualifier Julian Sandoval claimed the title while teammate Benjamin White (La Habra Heights, Calif.) placed 13th overall. One year later White found himself on the top of the podium conducting post- race interviews after a whopping 47-second improvement on the Pomona campus course. His time was 25:23 for the 5-mile course ranking 2nd best all-time for Whittier men at Pomona. More than 100 runners started the race.
Senior Anahy Covarrubias (Los Angeles, Calif.) was the highlight on the women's side placing 16th out of 127 finishers. The school record holder for the track 800m has improved steadily as a cross-country 6K (almost 4-miles) racer and posted a lifetime best 23:21 to lead the pack of Poets finishing in the 25 to 26-minute time range. For Covarrubias, it was a time ranking top 10 all-time for Whittier women on the Pomona course.
SCIAC win streaks for both the men's and women's teams appear to be in jeopardy after the Pomona Invitational team results. The men placed 9th of 13 and the women 10th of 14 teams. The men's and women's cross country teams boast the Department of Athletics' 3rd and 4th best SCIAC win-loss records since 1990 but both teams face the possibility of finishing at the bottom of the SCIAC standings short of some 2nd half (season) heroics from freshmen dominated teams. It's a remarkable turn for a Poet program that has sent more teams and individuals to NCAA Regional competition and to the National Championships, in the past 25 years, than any other sport on campus. Several graduates from the 2016 Nationals men's team were present to watch sophomore White claim the individual title.
"We're experiencing a correction no different than a stock market correction during a bull market," commented Coach Greg Phillips who has led the programs since 1985. "Our winning ways are trending upward long-term and I like the attitude of our freshman class," he added.
Whittier has a week off before returning to competition at the Titan Invitational on Friday, October 19 beginning at 5:00pm.