College of the Canyons cross country/track & field student-athletes Díani Ellis and Stephanie Martinez will soon race as Gators, after both recently signed National Letters of Intent with San Francisco State University.
Led by the one-two duo of Ellis and Martinez the COC women's cross country program produced another terrific season in 2017, with the Cougars finishing runner up in the Western State Conference (WSC) before placing sixth at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Championships.
The Cougars capped their season with a seventh place finish at the 2017 CCCAA State Championship meet at Woodward Park in Fresno, with Ellis finishing fifth overall at a school record time of 18:32.1 on the 5K course.
Ellis, who also placed fifth in the region and fourth in the WSC earlier in the season, earned JC All-American honors as a result of her performance in Fresno.
Last spring, Ellis won a 2017 CCCAA Women's Track & Field Individual State Championship in the women's 3K steeplechase with a time of 11:15.61. In doing so, she became just the second individual state champion in COC women's track & field history, joining Corey Honeycutt who won a state title in the 800m back in 2010.
Ellis was also a 2017 track & field JC All-American and won last year's CCCAA Southern California Regional title in the same event.
Martinez ran to a time of 19:39 at the 2017 cross country state championships to place 37th in the field of 162 runners, representing COC's second fastest time.
She also finished 18th at the SoCal Championships and sixth at the WSC Championships to represent a season-best finish.
In all, Martinez ran to top-10 times in four events this season to help pace the Cougars.
She was also a key contributor on COC's 2016 cross country team, earning All-WSC First Team honors as a freshman and helping Canyons to a sixth place finish at the state championships, ranking 41st individually.
Martinez has also fared well in track & field distance events, placing 14th at the 2017 CCCAA SoCal Championships in the 5,000m (19:04.71) and ninth in the 10,000m (40.02.39)
The Gators are an NCAA Division II program competing in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Ellis and Martinez are scheduled to begin attending SFSU in the fall 2018 semester.
— Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information