WHITTIER, Calif. - The women's and men's cross country teams opened the 2019 season with back-to-back races on September 21 and September 28. Whittier's distance runners ran off-pace to work on form and teamwork prior to peaking at late October and November races. As a result, team results were modest but not lacking individual improvement.
The women's team placed 10th of 14 teams at the Cal State San Bernardino Invitational in their season opener. The Poet men started enough runners but failed to finish the minimum number required to post a team score. Nevertheless, a fair number of personal bests were achieved on the flat 95% grass course on the campus of CSSB. Freshman Hannah Gevirtzman (Brea-Olinda HS) was the front-runner for the Poets posting a lifetime best 19:36 5K. Two Poet men made significant advances in junior David Del Carmen's (Bell HS) 25:44 8K (approximately 5:10 per mile for 5 miles) and junior Benjamin Arrendondo's (Cleveland HS) 27:45. It was a remarkable 2-minute improvement for Arrendondo.
More recently, The Mustang Challenge at Central Park, Santa Clarita, produced more favorable results. The men placed 24th of 36 collegiate and club teams. Not the results Poet Cross Country has become accustomed to but it was a run in the right direction. The challenging hilly course and wind took a toll on performance times but fine racing by Del Carmen, Arrendondo, sophomore Ricardo Lira-Martinez (Bassett HS), and freshmen Andres Hernandez (Contreras LC HS), and Matthew Enriquez (Downey HS) produced a respectable team score. The women's side produced a similar result placing 26th of 40 teams. Led again by Gevirtzman, additional point scorers were sophomore Jeanie Cox (Ayala HS), senior Melissa Tobias (Santa Fe HS), junior Kelsi Ikeda (Iolani HS, HI), and sophomore Eliana Garcia (Pomona Catholic HS). Displacing were freshman Gia Carrera (Bishop Amat HS) and sophomore Rocio Gonzalez (Novato HS).
Next weekend the cross country teams travel to the mountains for some altitude training prior to returning to action at the Pomona Invitational on October 12.