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College of the Canyons men's cross country team at Moorpark College Invitational on Sept. 1, 2023.

Cougars Cross Country Teams Finish Runner-Up at Moorpark Invitational

Story and photo by Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

MOORPARK — College of the Canyons started its 2023 season on a high note as the men's and women's teams each finished runner-up in the team standings at the Moorpark College Invitational on Friday.

The second-place finish was the best for COC's men's team since the 2019 season. That year, Canyons finished runner-up at the Ventura College Invitational.

On Friday, it was sophomore Sam Regez leading the way for a Cougars squad that featured all five scoring runners finishing in the top-30. The Cougars' team result also bested that of four-year program Cal Lutheran University.

Regez, who ran at the CCCAA State Championship meet last November, finished sixth at a pace of 21:04.2. That result also placed Regez fourth among community college runners, as the field included student-athletes from four-year schools and other unattached competitors among the top finishers.

COC sophomore Cesar Tobar was next at 21:41.8 on the four-mile course at Arroyo Vista Community Park. Tober slotted into the 10th spot, with freshman Jack Eaton close behind in 14th at a time of 22:11.3. 

Juan Jimenez-Rojas took the 23rd spot for the Cougars after the sophomore finished the course at 23:20.4. Fernando Osorio was the last to score for Canyons, turning in a time of 23:33.1 to claim 28th. Osorio's time represented an improvement of 3:26.5 compared to his mark on the same course a season ago. 

Diego Sanchez (23:48.4/33rd), Jerome Hughes (23:54.6/36th) and Nathaniel Wilkinson (24:26.5/45th), Elijah Dixon (25:54.4/62nd) all competed for the Cougars but did not factor into team totals. 

Moorpark (43) won the men's event followed by Canyons (76), Cal Lutheran (100) and Santa Monica College (103) in the top four spots. 

On the women's side, it was Allan Hancock College (48), Canyons (72), Oxnard (75) and host Moorpark (88) as the top four teams on the 5K-course.

Canyons reshmen Katelyn Catu and Kaiya Cortinas, also teammates at Golden Valley High School, ran in tandem for nearly the entire race to help pace the Lady Cougars.

Catu crossed the finish line first with a time of 20:40.4 to claim eighth place. Cortinas followed on her heels at 20:42.2 for ninth place.

Emily Cruz, the lone sophomore competing for Canyons, took 19th place at 22:00.2. Freshman Emily Fairbanks came in with the 23rd spot after being clocked at 22:38.1. Meanwhile, freshman Emily Valdez was next at 25:02.7 in 35th.

Canyons will run again at the Oxnard College Invitational beginning 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8. 

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 X, InstagramFacebook and YouTube