(FRESNO) If the success of College of the Canyons' men's team and Mt. San Antonio
College's women's team at the California Community College Cross Country Championships is a harbinger of the winter to come, then California reservoirs and rivers will fill and flow. Both races were drought-busters for the winners!
While most were looking at American River College's great potential at a fourth straight men's state title, College of the Canyons was saying 'not so fast, we're faster.' They proved it at Fresno's picturesque Woodward Park by outpointing ARC in a two-team duel over four miles, 79-86. Orange Coast was a distant third at 157.
The last and only time COC won a state cross country championship was the Small Schools title in 1975. Ironically, at Woodward Park. This 2014 win, ended a 39-year drought as sophomore Grant Stromberg led the way finishing 7th (20:26). The key was his next four teammates finishing 15th, 16th, 19th and 20th. They were: Rodrigo Ornelas (20:38), Ethan Walker (20:39), Jason Hillquist (20:45) and Robert Pion (20:47). Walker and Hillquist are freshmen.
Meanwhile, four of the top five individual runners were sophomores. Hartnell's NorCal champion Diego Leon (20:10) added a state championship finishing three seconds ahead of Orange Coast's Lucio Ramirez (20:13), the SoCal champ. Cuesta's Connor Fisher (20:17) and Alex Heuchert (20:20) of Santa Barbara were third and fourth. Antelope Valley freshman Brad
Wiggs (20:22) was a very close fifth. In fact, only 27 seconds separated the top 14 finishers. They qualified as All-Americans.
The following runners who placed one through 14 in their respective 2014 California Community College Championship races at Fresno's Woodward Park have received All-America recognition.
No. Runner (School), Yr. Time
1. Diego Leon (Hartnell), So. 20:09.4
2. Lucio Ramirez (Orange Coast), So. 20:12.6
3. Connor Fisher (Cuesta), So. 20:16.5
4. Alex Heuchert (Santa Barbara), So. 20:19.3
5. Brad Wiggs (Antelope Valley), Fr. 20:21.6
6. Teddy Kassa (El Camino), So. 20:23.1
7. Kevin Matthews (Mt. SanAntonio), So. 20:24.0
8. Grant Stromberg (College of the Canyons), So. 20:25.8
9. Brandon Ferguson (Orange Coast), So. 20:27.7
10. Sean Gregg (American River), Fr. 20:29.0
11. Omar Torres (Long Beach), So. 20:34.0
12. Sean Jagerson (American River), So. 20:35.6
13. Francisco Ortiz (Cerritos), So. 20:36.2
14. Abdul Hamid (American River), Fr. 20:36.7
* = 2013 All-American