El Camino College Union

Cross-country teams advance to state

Freshmen+Michael+Moody+%28front%29+and+David+Hodges+%28behind%29+competed+in+a+dense+field+of+runners+at+the+CCCAA+SoCal+Regional+championships+Friday+morning.+Photo+courtesy+of+coach+Dean+Lofgren.
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Cross-country teams advance to state

Freshmen Michael Moody (front) and David Hodges (behind) competed in a dense field of runners at the CCCAA SoCal Regional championships Friday morning. Photo courtesy of coach Dean Lofgren.

Freshmen Michael Moody (front) and David Hodges (behind) competed in a dense field of runners at the CCCAA SoCal Regional championships Friday morning. Photo courtesy of coach Dean Lofgren.

Freshmen Michael Moody (front) and David Hodges (behind) competed in a dense field of runners at the CCCAA SoCal Regional championships Friday morning. Photo courtesy of coach Dean Lofgren.

Freshmen Michael Moody (front) and David Hodges (behind) competed in a dense field of runners at the CCCAA SoCal Regional championships Friday morning. Photo courtesy of coach Dean Lofgren.

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In the most important meet of the season Friday, the El Camino men’s and women’s cross country teams succeeded in qualifying for the State Championships on Nov. 21.

According to CCCAA rules, the top 50 percent of teams from each region qualify for state but due to the small number of schools competing in Northern California, there were four at-large spots added to the Southern California qualification (total of 18).

The men qualified automatically by coming in 14th of 27 teams, while the women took an at-large bid after finishing 17th of 27 teams.

Coach Dean Lofgren talked about the results and competing against rival Cerritos College in the men’s race.

“It wasn’t our best day,” Lofgren said. “We were 14th which is about where we were ranked. Cerritos had been battling with us at conference and they got us today.”

Freshman Solomon Kanehailua finished first for the Warriors, placing 13th overall with a 21:15 time. He earned “All-Region” honors for placing in the top 14.

“Solomon ran really well. He got out pretty hard and stayed there the whole race and kicked his way up to 13th,” Lofgren said.

Kanehailua was followed by freshmen Chance Weston (67th; 22:17), Jacob Helfgott (93rd; 22:38), David Hodges (108th; 22:47) and Michael Moody (110th; 22:48), according to results verified by Lofgren.

Freshman Michael Moody commended his teammates and was then asked about running in his first state meet.

“I’m excited, but I’m trying not to get too excited,” Moody said.

The focus will have to be there for everyone at state, and It wasn’t initially there for the women at regionals.

The team missed the starting gun for their race, putting them in last and at a disadvantage to begin the race.

Lofgren couldn’t believe the start, and called it “terrible” afterward.

“For whatever reason the gun went off and they were just standing there,” Lofgren said. “They were the last seven girls starting out. But running panicked after that, they managed to qualify (for state).”

Sophomore Hannah Griffie led the comeback, finishing 60th overall with a 20:44 time.

She was followed by sophomore Judith Torres (95th; 21:31), freshmen Jennifer Villarreal (99th; 21:38), Xiomara Perkins (118th; 22:02) and Jaquelin Rodriguez (119th; 22:03), according to results verified by Lofgren.

The teams gets an extra week to prepare before traveling to Woodward Park in Fresno for the state meet Nov. 21.

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Cross-country teams advance to state