Running on a hot and dry day in San Luis Obispo, the Ventura College women's cross country team finished third as a team at the Western State Conference Championships while the men came in ninth overall. Olivia Burton was second and Diana Saldana was 10th to lead the Pirate women while Michael Sanchez and Jake Turville were the top finishers for the men.
Burton repeated her runner-up finish at the conference finals from a year ago, covering the 5k course in 19:41. Saldana ran a strong race to finish in the Top-10, crossing the finish line in 21:49 while Gisele Ortega came in 17th in 22:46, good for 16 team points. Other Pirate finishers included Michelle Meugniot (33rd, 24:26, 29 points), Cristina Cortes (41st, 25:31, 34 points), Alexandra Sanchez (46th, 26:57, 37 points), Michelle Hamm (49th, 27:54, 38 points) and Liliana Gomez (71st, 35:42).
The Pirates came in third place overall with 91 team points. Glendale won the WSC title with 28 points followed by Oxnard with 83. Cuesta was a close fourth with 94 points and Canyons was fifth with 108. A total of 74 runners form 14 schools competed in the event.
Sanchez led the Pirate men in the 4-mile race with a time of 25:42, good for 44th place overall and 36 team points. Turville and Pierson Reynolds were 48th and 49th, respectively, with times of 26:08 and 26:20, earning 400 and 41 team points. Other VC runners included Noah Perez (58th, 27:01, 46 points), Luis Duran (61st, 27:16, 49 points), Gabriel Olivares (68th, 28:07, 53 points) and Brody Lynch (85th, 34:14, 62 points).
The Ventura men earned 212 team points and finished 9th of the 13 participating teams. They came in one place beyond the automatic qualifying mark for the upcoming SoCal Regional Championships, and await an at-large invitational to the regionals on Nov. 8.
The Pirate women will be running at the SoCal Regionals, Friday November 8 at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.