The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

First-year runners discover the route to success

While experience is often a necessary ingredient for success in sports, sometimes raw athletic talent can be more important.

Some teams have a very young squad but do very well when it’s time to compete. The women’s cross country team has proven to be one with many first-year runners.

After winning the SCC championship Nov. 1, the Warriors placed second in the state championships Nov. 8 at Mt. SAC.

The success of the team earned coach Dean Lofgren coach of the year honors.

“Southern California is more competitive than Northern California,” Lofgren said.

“This year we have more talent and experience,” Lofgren said. “We can compete at a higher level. We have Heather Rosas, who is one of the best runners in the state.”

Talent is not the only thing the women’s team has to make it successful. It’s also the ability to run in different positions that has benefited the team.

“We have very talented women up front and we have depth too,” Lofgren said. “A very good quality of our team is that the runners are interchangeable. We have six or seven runners who can be upfront or run from the back.”

The squad gets most of its talent from seniors who graduated from the surrounding high schools. The high quality of competition at South Bay schools prepares local runners for college-level races.

“We all come out of mostly the same kinds of high school programs,” freshman Evelyn Lopez said.

“This is my first time ever running with a group that could pace me,” Lopez said. “They challenge me.”

The transition from high school to college woke up some runners to the intensity that defines college cross country,

“High school was very different because we have more workouts,” freshman Janet Tostado said. “In high school, we would run like twenty-five miles a week but here we run up to fifty miles a week.”

Being in good physical shape and being disciplined are key factors to get to the top.

“It’s very hard, like when you’re in the middle of a race and you’re not quite finished,” freshman Becky Cherry said. “You have to be mentally tough and always keep going. Determination is very important along with discipline. It seems to overlap into other parts of your lifestyle.”

Despite being a young team, most of the runners have been running and competing for several years. Tough competition isn’t completely unknown to them.

“I’ve been running since the sixth grade,” Valarie Tucker said. “I started by running in the park with my mom.”

For committed college runners, many trials and tribulations abound.

“The biggest challenge about running at El Camino is that we all have to step up for each other,” freshman Betty Cortez said.”

The discipline and focus required to be a good runner does come with rewards.

“In high school, there is very little discipline,” freshman Lindsey Brown said. “Here at EC, everyone wants a spot on the team so things are more challenging.”

Denise Warnecke, one of the returning runners, said coming back this year made her more serious about competing.

“We are all really close to each other,” Warnecke said. “However, most of the women are more competitive. They take running more seriously, so I have to as well.”

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