Women’s cross country drops out from Sonoma State Invitational

Nearly snatching first place in the team’s season opener, SF State’s women’s cross country team decided to drop out of the Sonoma State University (SSU) Invitational scheduled for Oct. 4, to concentrate and prepare for the meets in November.

“In the past (SSU Invitational) falls on a good weekend. This season it’s too early,” Coach Tom Lyons said, who emphasized the importance of preparing the team for November. “We have the SF State Invitational coming up so we’ll be fine. We’re still preparing and getting ready.”

The Gators opened up this season with a three-way duel against Academy of Art and Cal State East Bay, where the women’s team nearly snatched away a first place finish, despite the absence of their top runner and team captain Paxton Cota.

The team finished in second overall by defeating Cal State East Bay 23-24 and falling short to Academy of Art 27-29. Returning runner Lindsey Ragas had her best performance as a Gator finishing the season opener with a time of 22:45 and placing in second overall.

Cota, who missed the three-way duel due to a minor ankle injury she suffered during practice, said she’s excited to make her season debut at the SF State Invitational next week.

“(My ankle) feels so much better. I’m really glad it didn’t keep me out longer than a couple of days,” Cota said. “I should be good to go next meet.”

Last season, when the Gators participated in the SSU Invitational, the team finished in second out of six teams with 37 points. The Gators fell short to the overall winner, Cal State Monterey Bay by 7 points.

Cota finished at the 2013 SSU Invitational in third place with a time of 23:06, while returning runner, Rocio Pacheco, finished in sixth place with a time of 23:45.

“We just got started doing our workouts and it’s important we work on running in a pack,” Ragas said. “A lot of teams can’t do that because their ability is so far apart, but having more girls at the top is a tactic we use.”

The SF State Invitational will include conference teams such as Chico, Humboldt and Sonoma as well as two out-of-state schools. The invitational will take place at Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadows on Oct. 10th where both SF State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete.