City College’s cross-country runners Mark Moreno and Seanie Rigney each finished in sixth place at the Westmont Invitational on Saturday, leading the Vaqueros up against four-year schools and running clubs out of Santa Barbara.
The men’s team finished in sixth place overall as the only community college competing in the 10-team race. The NCAA runs an 8,000 meter course for men’s races, so the Vaquero runners were challenged to run almost five miles, one more mile than they usually race.
Moreno returned to lead the Vaquero runners after a minor injury kept him out of the first race of the season. He ran 26:30 on the hilly course, which is 5:21 per mile.
“Mark ran very strongly for us,” said head coach John Sisterson. “The whole team ran a smart race.”
Sisterson expects Moreno to be a contender for the fastest runner in the Western State Conference this season.
Runner Steven Semler was just a minute behind Moreno, finishing in the top 15, and Fabian Arellano broke the 30-minute barrier to finish as the fifth runner and final scorer for City College. The men’s team accumulated 127 points.
In cross country, the top five runners for each team score points based on which place they finish in. Sisterson was impressed by Arellano’s effort as the fifth runner and final scorer for the Vaqueros.
“I think we raced great as a team,” said Arellano. “We each had someone to run with and that helped push us.”
In the women’s 5k race, Seanie Rigney and Erika Shaeffer each placed in the top 10 to help lead the Vaqs to fourth place overall with 87 points.
Rigney and Shaeffer each broke 21 minutes, faster than 7 minutes per mile, to finish strongly against the 50 girls competing in the race.
“Seanie and Erika did a good job working together early in the race,” said Sisterson.
Sisterson said he is impressed with the progress his women’s team has made already, and is confident about where they stand at this point in the season.
“This was a very strong effort for us, and a good indicator that we’re a better team than last year,” said Sisterson. “We’re getting into good shape for this time of the season.”
The women’s team ran as a close pack, with only a 1:30 gap between the first and fifth runner, an impressive accomplishment that shows the overall depth of the lady Vaqueros.
Although it was a challenging course against top universities in a fast setting, the City College cross country team competed very strongly at the Westmont Invitational, and should be shaping up to be a strong contender in the WSC this season once league meets start on Oct. 9.
The Vaqueros race again in two weeks at the Bakersfield Invitational, where they hope to mix things up against some of the best teams in the state.
“The teams are excited for the challenge,” said Sisterson. “This should be a good test for us.”