Cross country qualifies for State Championships; Instebo awarded WSC Player of the Week

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Men’s runners take off from the starting line of the SBCC Invitational Oct. 12, at Leadbetter Beach.

Madison Paglia, Staff Writer

City College’s cross-country team broke a 30-year drought by qualifying for the State Championship for both men’s and women’s squads for the first time.

At the Southern California Championships, City College  women placed 7th with 226 points while the men placed 12th with 360 points  with the top 14 schools advancing to the State Championships on Nov. 17.

“For the last five years, I have been working to build this program up,” said head coach Scott Fickerson. “This is the direction I wanted the program to go in and continue to in upcoming seasons.”

The Vaqueros had five meets leading up to the Southern California Championships, all of which the women’s team placed fourth or higher and the men’s seventh and higher, with the exception of the Southern California Preview meet in which they didn’t field a complete team.

“Our team did really well this season, compared to last year,” said sophomore Omar Padilla-Lopez. “We’re all a lot closer and coach helped us a lot to focus on how we could improve in each race.”

Sophomore standout from Stockholm, Cecilia Instebo was awarded Western State Conference female athlete of the week after finishing second in the Southern California Championships, Nov. 3 in Costa Mesa. She was also named to the All-Southern California Cross Country team.

“The WSC Athlete of the week award came as a surprise,” Instebo said. “I’m of course happy and honored to have been chosen. The fact that I was named to the All-Southern California team tells me that I am up there among some of the best runners in the state, and that is an accomplishment that I’m really proud of.”

This was Instebo’s fifth consecutive second-place finish as she led the Vaquero women team to place seventh out of 28 teams in the 5K. She ran a season best time of 18:27, one minute and 27 seconds faster than her previous best 19:14 and only 18-seconds off pace with undefeated Grace Graham-Zamudio of Glendale Community College, who she will be racing against in state.

Running alongside Instebo at state will be Emily Bernath (fr.), Nicole Bartlett (fr.), Nicole Mozillo (fr.), Mia Owens (fr.), Sara Smith (fr.) and Dean Roell (fr.).

As for the men, they will be running with their top six instead of seven.

The men’s state team is as follows: Ian Roberts (fr.), Marcial Ordaz (so.), Nery Gonzalez (so.), Jamison Leighton (so.), Andy Hernandez (fr.), and Omar Padilla-Lopez (so.).

“They are all in the physical condition for state,” said Fickerson. “Just as long as we don’t let our minds become the obstacle, they should be very confident and run their best race of the season.”

Currently, the women’s side is ranked No. 9 in the State and No. 7 in Southern California. The men are ranked No. 12 in Southern California.

A total of 28 teams will be attending the state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. The women’s 5k race will start at 10 a.m. and the men’s four-mile race will follow at 11a.m.