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COC freshman Danielle Salcedo at the Moorpark
College of the Canyons freshman Danielle Salcedo ran to a first place finish at the season-opening Moorpark College Invitational on Aug. 27, 2021. The event was the first regular season competition for the Cougars since March 2020, when cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic halted community college athletics. —Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

Canyons Cross Country Ushers In Athletics Return, Salcedo Scorches Field

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

MOORPARK — College of the Canyons freshman Danielle Salcedo announced the return of Cougar Athletics in resounding fashion on Friday, running to a first place finish at the season-opening Moorpark College Invitational and officially launching the start of the fall 2021 season.

Salcedo posted a time of 18:47.8 on the 5K course at Arroyo Vista Park in her first collegiate run, besting the field of more than 40 runners representing eight schools. 

The former Saugus High School star crossed the finish line alone, with the next closest competitor more than 16 seconds off the pace.

Friday's cross country meet was historic in that it represented the first regular season competition for Canyons since the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down California community college athletics in March 2020. 

Those cancellations then lingered into the fall 2020, forcing head coach Lindie Kane's program to wait until 2021.

"It was great to be back competing," said Kane. "Very excited for the student-athletes that are back representing College of the Canyons."

Canyons had two more runners post top-10 times with freshman Milca Osorio taking sixth at a pace of 20.17.9 and fellow frosh Jennifer Thompson slotting into the eighth spot at 20:28.1.

COC sophomore Sarah Zamudio, the lone returner from Kane's 2019 team, also had a strong run on Friday. Her time of 21:48.4 gave the Cougars a big boost.

Freshmen Maylani Perez (22nd/23:43.5) and Trinity Winslow (24:35.9) also ran well on Friday, with both runners expected to be key contributors throughout the season.

"Our women's team turned out solid performances all around," added Kane.

Those numbers put Canyons second in the team standings with 40 event points. Glendale College (32) won the meet. Host Moorpark (59) was third and Bakersfield College (89) rounded out the team scoring.

Citrus, Chaffey, Compton and Pasadena City College all entered individual runners into the meet but did not factor into team scoring. Full event results can be found here.

Salcedo's win was the first season-opening victory by a Canyons runner since 2014. That season, freshman Shalyn Mabritto and sophomore Rodrigo Ornelas both ran to first place times as Canyons swept the men's and women's races at the Ventura College Invitational held at Arroyo Verde Park. Later that year COC's men's team won the CCCAA state championship, while the women's squad finished second in the state.

"That was an impessive win for Dani (Salcedo)," Kane said.

The Cougars will next run as hosts of College of the Canyons Invitational on Friday, Sept. 3, at the Valencia campus. Races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

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.