By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — College of the Canyons is sending both teams to the state championship meet after the Cougars ran well enough at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regional Championships on Friday.
The Cougars' men's team finished 12th on the four-mile course among the field of 26 competing programs. COC women's squad was 14th among the 28 competing teams in the 5K race at Mission Bay Park.
Neither of COC's teams advanced to the state championship meet in 2018. Instead, Canyons saw three runners from the women's team move on to compete as individuals. This year's meet will mark the first time that both teams have qualified to compete since 2016.
COC freshman David Salazar (21:58.8) continued a terrific season by placing 17th in the field of 186 runners. That mark represented the best finish of the day for Canyons.
Tarek Khezri (22:28.8) was 44th overall followed by Mathew Liebmann (23:02.9) in 72nd to represent the Canyons top-three. Mauricio Abrego (23:53.5) and Brannon Barber (24:02.1) finished together at 112 and 114, respectively.
Event host San Diego Mesa College (30) won the men's race by a large margin with its first four runners all finishing in the top-seven. The Olympians were followed by Mt. San Antonio College (100) and third place Glendale College (113).
Freshman Diana Perez was the top runner for COC's women's team at a 34th place time of 21:15.2.
Glendale (58) easily won the women's event followed by Saddleback College (107) and Riverside City College (131) in the top three spots.
Canyons will now prepare for the CCCAA State Championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Fairview Park in Fresno.
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.