(Fresno, CA) With five runners finishing in the top 20 individually, the Mt. SAC Men's Cross Country Team defended their 2017 CCCAA State Championship and captured the Mounties 3rd state championship in college history.
This marked the Mounties second "Triple Crown" of Cross Country, winning the South Coast Conference, Southern California and State Championship. The team title was the sixth of the season for the Mounties.
The state title on the famed Woodward Park Course (Fresno, CA) came with a 51-point difference over second-place El Camino. The top-ranked Mounties scored 49 points, El Camino 90 points and in a distant third was San Diego Mesa with 121 points.
"It's fantastic," said Luis Huerta of the championship, "It was a goal since last years' state meet. Heading into the summer we knew that this was going to be one of the best teams in Mt. SAC history. To finally have it come to fruition is fantastic."
"We contributed our part to the Mt. SAC legacy and it's time for us to move on and step aside for the next generation of Mounties. They will be more than ready to fight for that title."
The states' top runner this season, Salvador Capetillo, finished in second with a time of 20:20.6. El Camino's Carson Bix won the individual title with a 20:07.6.
"We would say its (championship) bittersweet as we wanted to come out here and get the team record," Capetillo said. "It's great that we're team champions and the people that are coming up next year are going to want to continue that."
Mt. SAC, which finished with a team time of 1:43.32, was the only team finishing all five runners in the top 20 individually, out of 168 entrants. Following Capetillo were Christopher Weiland, 6th (20:35.5), Colby Penn, 13th (20:49.8), Ralph Mendoza, 15th (20:52) and Luis Huerta, 19th (20:54.7).
"Coaches Gio Lanaro, Daniel Ozan and I couldn't be prouder of the men's and women's teams that represent our program, student body, alumni and college," Cross Country Coach Ron Kamaka said.
"Today's performances is a reflection of the mission we embarked on nearly six months ago. It is a testimony of our student -athletes' commitment to championship ideals and one team."
"The men now claim the coveted prize and are now state champions, while the women proudly conclude their season as the states' fourth-best team. Both leave this season adding an important link in a long chain of excellence, meeting the challenge of being champions, just as so many other proud Mounties before them have done."
Coach Ozan echoed the words of coach Kamaka: "Both the men's and women's teams had big goals coming into the season. A few returners on both ends helped the teams produce amazing leaders. I'm very happy with the results that both teams produced."
Receiving All-State Honors (top 14 individual finishers) were Capetillo, Weiland and Penn.
Team comments (Courtesy of Runnerspace.com)
Colby Penn, FR: "We felt like we could have done a little bit more, but once we officially found out that we won we focused that we were still champions and we did that in a dominating fashion."
About Sal Capetillo, "he's our silent leader. He doesn't say a lot but he leads by example. For him to come out here and do what he did is simply amazing."
Chris Weiland, SO: "This race was really about redemption for me from So Cal's. I switched up the strategy a bit. I slowed down the first half of the race and it worked in my favor. It was all about staying relaxed in the first half of the race and eating people up in the end and it worked in our favor."
Ralph Mendoza, SO: "We're pretty happy with our legacy that we are leaving here at Mt. SAC. We're happy with what happened (Saturday) and the steps we made."
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.