By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons cross country will compete at Saturday's California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship meet after having three runners qualify as individuals based on their performance at the Southern California Regional Championships earlier this month.
Sophomores Amanda Finn (19:52), Celeste Gonzalez (20:16.2) and Samantha Bell (20:22.4) will each take part in the Cougars' annual trip to Fresno, site of the state championship meet, after finishing 50th, 61st and 64th, respectively, in the field of 177 runners who participated in the SoCal regional championships on Nov. 2.
COC's women's squad placed 15th in the team standings at the SoCal Regional to narrowly miss a chance to compete as a team in Fresno. The top 14 teams from Southern California automatically qualify for a trip to the state championships.
A combined total of 21 men's teams and 21 women's teams will compete at the CCCAA State Championship meet. The field will consist of 14 teams from the South region and seven teams from the North region.
A maximum combined total of 30 men's and 30 women's individual qualifiers advance to the CCCAA State championship meet based on their performance at the regional competition. The field may consist of up to 20 individuals from the South region and 10 individuals from the North region. Individual qualifiers may only advance into the State Championship if they finish within the top 50 percent of all finishers at their Regional Championship.
Finn and Bell both ran in Fresno as freshman a season ago, helping COC's women's team to an eighth place team finish.
The 2018 CCCAA Cross Country State Championships will be held Saturday, Nov. 17 at Woodward Park in Fresno. The women's race will begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by the men's competition at 9:30 a.m.
In spite of distant wild fires, air quality in Fresno is well below high readings which, if reached, could require a change of venue. The forecast for Saturday is hazy sunshine with race time temperatures in the 60s. Early morning Fresno temps have been in the mid 30s. Additionally, it hasn't rained in Fresno since March 22. The good news is, thanks to several generous donations in upgrading marking of the Woodward Park course and minimizing dust, the venue should be fast and clean.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.