The VC women's cross country team continued their strong season, finishing second overall at the Western State Conference Preview Meet Friday in South El Monte while the men came in ninth while showing solid improvement. Olivia Burton and Brieanna Tafoya were the top performers for the women, finishing in fifth and seventh place, respectively, while Luis Duran came in 48th to lead the Pirate men.
The Pirates totaled 60 team points in the race with six runners in the Top-20. Glendale won the event with 30 points, placing seven runners in the Top-17 finishers. Oxnard was a distant third with 100 points followed by Moorpark (107) and Cuesta (111). A total of 70 runners representing 13 schools finished the race.
Burton ran the 5k course at Legg Lake Park in 18:53 to come in fifth place, 59 seconds behind the winner, but 20 seconds out of the runner-up spot. Tafoya ran a 19:03 5k to finish seventh and Gisele Ortega came in 13th in 20:02. Other VC runners included Diana Saldana (17th, 20:33, 16 team points), Michelle Meugniot (20th, 21:03, 19 points), Alisann Tolosa (21st, 21:06, 20 points), Alexandra Sanchez (36th, 22:22, 33 points) and Michelle Paramo-Reyes (48th, 23:59).
Despite their ninth place team finish, the Ventura men continued to show improvement. They totaled 217 points, finishing seven points out of eighth place, a standing that would move them to the SoCal Regionals following the WSC Championships on Oct. 25. The margin for qualifying was a 58-point jump toward eighth place Santa Monica with three weeks remaining until the conference finals. 82 runners from 12 colleges completed the race.
Duran led the way on the 4-mile circuit with a mark of 23:02, good for 48th place overall and 38 team points. Michael Sanchez and Pierson Reynolds finished within 36 seconds of the VC pace-setter with times of 23:19 and 23:38, respectively, good for 50th and 53rd place overall and 40 and 42 team points. Other Pirate runners included Noah Perez (62nd, 24:41, 48 points), Gabriel Olivares (63rd, 24:42, 49 points) and Brody Lynch (68th, 25:30, 51 points).
"Though the team result was not what we hoped, the men continue to improve, cutting their qualifying deficit," said men's head coach Tony Veney.
Ventura will next hit the course at the Moorpark Invitational on Friday Oct. 11.