The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Morejon and Hays lead Matadors in championship meet

Lilyana Morejon finishes sixth place in the 6k at the Big West Conference Championship. Photo Credit: courtesy of csun athletics department

Lilyana Morejon and Hunter Hays were the big story for CSUN at the Big West Conference Championships Saturday in Riverside.

The CSUN men and women’s cross country teams competed in their last competition of the season before the NCAA West Regional Championships, the last event of the year.

Racing for the first time since hosting the Northridge Invitational in Van Nuys two weeks ago, the Matadors ran slower times than the last meet, while still coming close to the overall winner.

The Matador women placed eight out of nine, finishing ahead of the University of the Pacific. Northridge scored 207 points, with first place UC Santa Barbara scoring 35 points.

Senior Morejon led the way for CSUN by finishing sixth place out of 73 runners in the 6k with a time of 20:41.5, less than a minute behind winner Amanda Moreno of UC Santa Barbara. Moreno was the only runner to break the 20-minute mark, coming in at 19:57.0.

Morejon beat her Northridge Invitational time of 21:01.1, but was still five seconds slower than her 20:36.3 time at last year’s conference championships. Last season’s time earned Morejon third place, just two seconds behind the winner of UC Davis.

Other Northridge notables included senior Zitlalic Ley, who came in 47th place with a time of 22:24.0, and sophomore Araceli Zainos, who finished 55th with the time of 22:50.7.

Places 62 through 66 belonged to Northridge, which included Fany Alvarado, Yvonne Castillo-Urbina, Vanessa Carr, Mallory Day and Ana Rosales, in that order.

The Matador women’s average time was 22.39.4, almost two minutes behind the winners.

Sophomore Hays led the Matador men by finishing in 42nd place out of 68 runners in the 8k with a time of 25:44.4. Hays’ time was an incredible improvement from last year’s championship time, in which he came in at 28:38.9 and in 68th place.

Other Northridge notables included senior Gustavo Hernandez, who placed 59th with a time of 26:52.0. His time was more than a minute of improvement from last year’s championships, in which he finished 64th with 28:03.3.

Juan Olea, CSUN men’s leading runner, finished in 53rd place with 26:20.0, which was down from his last year’s time of 25:42.7 and 42nd-place finish. His time was also down from his time at the Northridge Invitational, in which he came in at 25:07.2.

Hernandez and Hays’ improvements highlights the men’s event for CSUN, who finished in last place with 248 points in the team standings. The men averaged a time of 27:05.06, about two and a half minutes behind winners UC Davis.

Olea mentions that trying to run in a muddy course factored into times and personal records.

“I went into the meet with high hopes and with two big goals in mind,” Olea said. “One was to finally run under 25 minutes for the five miles. My second goal was to beat Fullerton. I knew that if everyone did their part and ran a spectacular race, we could do it.”

“When I woke up that morning, I realized it was raining and the course would be muddy, so I focused on my second goal since it would be very difficult to PR (personal record) in the mud,” Olea said.

Olea said that while teammates scored great individually, the team expectations leading to the event were not met and that a mutual feeling of disappointment hovered over the teams.

“We feel like we could’ve done a lot better and didn’t show what we had on Saturday,” Olea said. “We are definitely disappointed in the results.”

Next up are the NCAA West Regionals Nov. 13 in Eugene, Oregon. The Matadors are still in the process of selecting runners to compete in the event.

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