El Camino men’s cross-country team advances to State Championship

The El Camino men’s cross-country team will be competing in its 27th consecutive State Championship on Saturday.

“We have an outstanding group of men that have advanced,” EC cross-country coach Dean Lofgren said. “Sadly, this season breaks my 27-year streak of women’s teams qualifying.”

For the women, freshman Brianna Harmon was the only individual qualifier.

“Brianna is fit and coming off two solid championship races (South Coast Conference and So Cal),” Lofgren said. “She looks ready to race come Saturday.”

The men’s group is led by six sophomores and one freshman, which have all been in the State Championships before (here at EC and high school) and have worked hard together since July, logging anywhere from eight to 12 miles a day with high-intensity interval training.

In last week’s Southern California Regional, Solomon Kanehailua led EC in 44th (21:36) followed by Israel Cardona in 47th (21:39), David Hodges in 68th (22:05), Jacob Helfgott in 81st (22:19), and Alex Moody in 82nd (22:20); rounding out the scoring top 5.

EC placed a qualifying 10th in the large field, just two points behind Saddleback College while San Bernardino Valley College won. South Conference rival Mt. SAC finished 3rd.

Lofgren said as the race progressed, they slowly slipped back and – although still grouped well – were a bit too far back to have a realistic shot at one of their lofty goals of a top 5-7 finish.

“A top 10 spot is respectable in this quality field,” Lofgren said. “We will prepare for an optimal performance in the State Championships.”

The California Community College Athletic Association State Championships will be held at Woordward Park in Fresno on Saturday.

“If we maintain our composure and run to our potential, we should place well,” Lofgren said. “These guys have been such a nice, dedicated and academically-focused group to work with. I couldn’t ask for anything else as their coach and I am tremendously proud of what they have done and for what they are about to do.”