Cross country teams finish season in Oregon

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor


Graphic by Tam Duong Jr.

Despite the success of both Cal State East Bay cross country teams this year, they did not qualify for the NCAA Championships.

The season ended for both teams in Monmouth, Oregon when they competed in the NCAA Division II West Regionals at Ash Creek Preserve last week, the home of Western Oregon University. The men finished 23rd out of 23 teams while the women took 24th place out of 28 teams that competed.

Led by senior Imani Heath, the women recorded a total time of 1:59:42.62 and an average time of 23:56.53. Heath nabbed 65th place overall in the 6k race with a final time of 22:34.89, over a minute faster than the next CSUEB runner.

“The women overcame a lot of adversity as we had a couple of girls who sustained some serious injuries earlier in the year that were able to gut it out,” CSUEB first-year Head Coach Tony Nicolosi said. “We defeated a few teams which is a huge accomplishment from where we were a year ago.”

Fellow senior Oddessey Tapia was the next Pioneer woman to finish in a time of 23:42.43, which garnered her 132nd place out of 192 total runners. Seniors Kelsey Lamb and Alyssa Tenney ran for the final time at CSUEB and were able to finish 159th and 171st with times of 24:34.32 and 25:19.71, respectively.

While the men didn’t have quite the overall success the women did, they managed to do some things that haven’t been accomplished by a Pioneer in a long time. According to Nicolosi, this is the first time in several decades that Pioneer men finish a 10k race in less than 35 minutes. This year’s squad had five runners do it including freshman Israel Sotelo, who took home 114th place out of 162 runners in a team-leading time of 32:54.35.

“We were able to beat Cal State Stanislaus for the first time since we returned to the CCAA and Israel ran one of the fastest times we have seen from a male runner here at East Bay since probably the late 80s,” Nicolosi said.

The men finished with a total time of 2:51:02.67 and an average time of 34:12.54. Sophomore Zach Kanlong finished second for the Pioneers and 144th overall in a time of 34:06.21. Freshmen Jesus Leon and Cameron Olson, and sophomore Kyle Fetter all finished under the 35 minute mark for CSUEB. Senior Orlando Ramirez rounded out the field recording a time of 36:19.51 in his final run as a Pioneer.

“I was amazed at how I ran and how some of my teammates ran,” Kanlong said. “Coach Nicolosi peaked us at the perfect time and we had our best day when it mattered.”

Nicolosi said the team will now go into “winter training mode” where runners will log their own runs in preparation for the spring track and field season as well as next year’s cross country season.