Cross Country teams finish in top three

Sweat-drenched runners hustled through the humidity on Oct. 11 at Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow as the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams raced the competition at the SF State Invitational.

The women’s team placed well enough to earn a third-place finish behind first-place Fresno Pacific and second-place Notre Dame de Namur, with senior Diani Ellis leading the pack of four Gators to finish in the top 25 of the women’s 5K run.

Ellis finished with a time of 23:03.9, and said that though the heat was an unforeseen challenge, she knew it was important to push through for the team. 

“I’m from SoCal, so I should be used to the heat, but that was hot Ellis said. “I just know that most of them are depending on me, I’m something like a ringleader for this team.”

Ellis also finished first in last month’s Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento, and Tom Lyons, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, recognizes Ellis as a leader of the women’s team.

“She’s been our top runner since she got here last year, and this year for the most part,” said Lyons. “She’s so experienced, she knows what she wants to do at conference and at regionals and she knows how to practice for that.”

The Men’s team also finished within the top three, earning second place only behind Biola University, with redshirt-junior Carlos Gonzalez (33:48.9) and redshirt-senior Austin Sanchez (33:51.5) being the first Gators to finish the men’s 10K run.

While Gonzalez and Sanchez both led the way for the Gators, their teammate who finished three minutes after them is the heart and soul of the team, according to Gonzalez.

“Feels awesome when your peers and your teammates understand how much you care about the team even though you’re not finishing first, and when the fastest guy, Carlos, can say that about you, that means a lot,” said grad-student Austin Magin, who has struggled to participate after injuries have slowed him down during the start of the season.

Magin’s most recent setback was a foot-injury that happened an estimated two-months ago, and Magin has only gotten back on his feet about three weeks prior to Saturday’s race.

“Ever since he got on campus, he’s been a huge part of the team,” said Lyons. “The spirit and the mentality that he has is amazing. He thinks about everybody else way before himself.”

Magin and the rest of the men’s team, along with the women’s, will be back on the race track on Oct. 26, for the CCAA Cross Country Championships in Arcata, California.