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COC men's cross country team at the CCCAA SoCal Preview on Sept. 13, 2019.

Cougars Eye Regional Competition at SoCal Preview

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

MISSION BAY, Calif. — College of the Canyons headed to last Friday's California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Preview with an eye on the competition, knowing the meet would provide a gauge as to how the Cougars match up against their rivals throughout the region. 

Canyons came away with some early insights as the men's team ran to a ninth place team finish in the field of 28 schools, while the men's and women's squads combined to see five runners finish in the top-50 spots, in their respective fields, on the course at Mission Bay Park.

The annual 'preview' event provides schools with an opportunity to compete on the course where the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championships will be held.

COC freshman David Salazar was the top finisher for the Cougars, placing 32nd in the field of 205 runners at a time of 22:23.6 on the four-mile course. Salazar has now led Canyons in every race he has entered this season. 

Mathew Liebman ran near teammate Salazar for most of the day, eventually finishing 35th at 22:28.1. Tarek Khezri followed in the same pack with a final time of 22:46.9, good for 48th overall.

Mauricio Abrego (95th/23:58.4), Brannon Barber (106th/24:09.5) and Edgar Pacheco (116th/24:40.9) also ran for the Cougars. 

San Diego Mesa College won the event with a score of 52, trailed closely by Mt. San Antonio College at 56. Both programs had four runners finish top-20 in the individual standings. American River College was third at 96 points. 

COC's ninth place team result was second among the eight Western State Conference (WSC) schools that competed in the event. Glendale College finished in eighth, 46 points lower than the Cougars.

Canyons freshman Diana Perez crossed the finish line of the women's 5K race 35th overall and was clocked at 21:44.6. Like Salazar, Perez has led the team in every event she has entered this season. Including a 17th place finish at the recent Fresno Invitational on Sept. 7.

COC freshman Paris Camacho was just a few paces behind Salazar, taking 38th overall at 21:49.9.

Lauren Franco (109th/23:52.1) and Megan Carbajal (172nd/27:21.5) also competed in the field of 209 runners. However, because Canyons only entered four runners it did not factor into the team scoring. 

Glendale (38) won the women's event after having all five scoring runners finish in the top-14. Ventura College (100) was a distant second followed by Riverside City College (127), Mt. SAC (173) and L.A. Harbor (185).

Full race results are included here.

The Cougars will have a week free from competition before heading to the Bakersfield College Invitational on Friday, Sept. 27.

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.