The VC men's and women's cross country teams battled triple-digit heat and a small field at the Bakersfield Invitational Friday at Kern County Soccer Park. The Pirate women were the top-performing community college team, finishing second behind NAIA Mt. Mercy University of Iowa while the VC men came in forth of the five scoring teams. Olivia Burton won her second race of the season, completing the 5k course in 19:20 to lead the women and Johnny Ordaz paced the men placing 10th on the 4-mile course with a mark of 23:29.
Everado Magana (11th, 23:38), Jake Turville (20th, 24:35), Luis Barriga (23rd, 25:05), Luis Duran (31st, 26:27, 29 team points), and Mauricio Flores (34th, 26:48) rounded out the rest of the finishers for the Pirate men in the 40-runner field.
"This meet always has a small field which requires more race time focus of the young men because they can find themselves running alone for a while," commented head coach Tony Veney.
"Now that we have a had four meets under our belt, the real season starts next week at the WSC Preview."
The Pirate women continued to run well, despite the heat, finishing ahead of the three other community college teams competing. Behind Burton, who won the race by 50 seconds over second place, Tatiana Garcia (20:37) came in fourth overall followed by Isabelle Egbert (16th, 23:32, 15 team points), Cecilia Cano (17th, 23:53, 16 points), Diana Saldana (18th, 24:06, 17 points), Alejandra Contreras (22nd, 24:43, 21 points), Maria Elizarraraz (25th, 25:28, 23 points) and Karen Reyes (26th, 25:50).
"The women ran well under the conditions," said head women's coach Melody Axtell.
"This was the type of race that really tests their mental toughness and they fought through the heat."
The Pirates return to competition on Friday Sept. 28 at the Western State Conference Preview at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. The women are slated to begin at 1:00 pm ad the men at 1:45 pm.