Matadors cross-country sets 10K school record

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CSUN Athletics Department

Sophomore Daniel Rodriguez of the CSUN men’s cross-country team runs at the Anteater Opener on Sept. 1, 2022, in Irvine, Calif.

Pamela Garcia, Assistant Sports Editor

Both of CSUN’s cross-country teams ran their last race of the season in the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 11.

They traveled to the Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington, where they faced many tough opponents from the West Coast, including nine Pac-12 teams. The men’s squad claimed 27th place out of 31 teams on the 10K course. Meanwhile, the women’s team finished 34th out of the 35 teams on the 6K course.

In the Big West Championship at UC Riverside, Camilo Torres was the first of the men’s team to cross the finish line. This time was no different, with the freshman managing to break the CSUN 10K Division I school record initially set by Angel Alcantar in 2014, who finished his NCAA West Regional with a time of 31 minutes and 19.5 seconds. Torres finished with a time of 30:57.7.

“I improved way more than I thought I would in such a short span of time, and beat people that used to beat me all the time in high school,” Torres said. “It’s pretty cool to see that.”

The men’s team continued to record fast 10K times, with redshirt junior James Moore becoming the second fastest Matador in a 10K race at the Division I level. He crossed with a time of 31.05.6, lowering his personal best by more than two minutes. Cesar Cuevas and Daniel Rodriguez nearly tied each other for fifth among Matadors in a 10K race, with 31:37.5 and 31:40.3, respectively.

On the women’s team, sophomore Elin Markarian was the top finishing CSUN runner, beating her personal best by 11 seconds and recording the 10th best time by a Matador on the 6K course with a time of 22:11.3 at the NCAA West Regional. Nicole Contreras and Sonia Avila trailed shortly behind her, finishing with times of 22:21.8 and 22:39.6.

A chart of the Matadors’ finishing times for both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams at the NCAA West Regional on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington. (Edward Segal)

With spirits high to close out the fall season, the Matadors feel optimistic about the season to come.

“I just want to be able to end next season feeling the same way I’m ending this season, which is proud of myself and feeling like I hit all of my goals,” Contreras said.

Overall, this season was one of growth and teamwork for the Matadors. They hope to continue breaking records and pushing one another to reach for new personal bests at each race. The Matadors also hope to improve on their Big West Conference placements to end the string of lower standings that started in 2001.

“I feel really confident that this group has the talent and the work ethic to improve every day and set goals. We’ll work to them and we’ll see what that next step reveals,” CSUN assistant coach Devin Elizondo said. “I think the future looks really bright when you factor in that this group is brand new to doing this.”

According to Elizondo, who is in his first year with the team, there will be no departures or additions to both the men’s and women’s rosters.

Some of the cross-country members will be returning to run with the track and field team, and will begin winter training for both the indoor and outdoor seasons starting next semester. Others will prepare for the new cross-country season next fall.