Cross Country: Vaqueros host SBCC invitational

Alex Higgins

The Vaqueros cross country team assembled at Shoreline Park for the SBCC open invitational Saturday at Leadbetter Beach.

This was the first and only home meet of the year, drawing over forty teams from up and down the California coastline.

The Vaqueros men’s and women’s cross country teams did not place.

Leading the men’s race for City College was Conner Mellon a second-year runner, who finished in 58th place at 23:51.

Leadbetter beach provided the perfect backdrop for the meet but the Vaquero runners where unable to capitalize on their familiarity with the course.

“I thought it was fun to run on our home course on such a
beautiful day,” Mellon said.

The three-mile open race was the highlighted event of the meet as well as City College cross country’s premier fundraiser. The profit earned from the ten-dollar entry fee went to City College’s cross country program.

Brian Locher, the head coach of Cuesta College, came in first in the open meet.

Cuesta College did well overall; earning first place wins in the open and men’s races.

The Vaqueros competed admirably on the day, but didn’t do as well as expected. “We need to improve a little more,” said Conner Mellon, “but we ran the best we could.”

After competing at Glendale and Bakersfield, the women’s team was ready for an intense race. Unfortunately, the women’s team was almost at risk of not competing when they didn’t have enough women to compete.

“Two of our girls are out of town,” said first season runner Sophia Garner Gonzalez, “I raced with an injured hip just so our team could race.”

Coach Fickerson believed the meet went fairly smooth considering the 400-450 runners competing. “It went great,” he said while cleaning up after the meet. “We do have room for improvement, but we competed well,” he added.

The visitor turnout was high considering the amount of teams competing.

From every curve and corner of the course fans were cheering on their school teams. Comments such as “Go Tom!” or “Go John, you can do it!” were the norm during the race by supporters on the sidelines.

The large amount of sweat was predictable when considering the grueling course that consisted of a sandy beach with little traction and an uphill climb.

After the race, Shoreline Park was flooded with out of town fans rushing the exhausted runners who were chugging Gatorade and getting pats on the back by teammates and family members.

The event went without a hitch, thanks to the supervision and dedication of coach Fickerson, who worked hard with the help of volunteers to make the race enjoyable to those who came.