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(Photo of Justin Frias from earlier this season by Tadzio Garcia)
(Photo of Justin Frias from earlier this season by Tadzio Garcia)

ELAC men’s cross country moves on to SoCal without a top runner

CERRITOS, Calif. — The Huskies men’s cross country team placed seventh in the South Coast Conference Championships today with times that advance them to the Southern California Championships next week.

“The South Coast Cross Country Conference Finals went great for (ELAC) because both teams advanced to the Southern California Final,” said ELAC first-year head coach Kathryn Kelly.

It is the fifth straight year that East Los Angeles College has advanced to SoCal and the 10th visit since 2001 including four Top-10 finishes. Seven of eight SCC teams advanced to SoCal, which will be held on the same course as today’s SCC finals, the Don Knabe Regional Park in Cerritos.

The SCC is the toughest conference in the state with four teams ranked in the state Top-15 poll. This includes No. 1 Mt. San Antonio College and No. 2 El Camino College who are expected to duke it out for the SoCal title.

Missing in action today was ELAC’s No. 2 runner, sophomore Allen Au Yeung (San Gabriel High School) a kinesiology major. “I had the Marine Corps drill this weekend and was not allowed to race due to my weekend duty,” said Yeung. Yeung graduated from the Marine Corps Boot Camp a year ago. Allen moves on to SoCal based on his season best time of 22:48.5 set on this same course on Sept. 19.

Without Allen in the lineup it seemed unlikely that the Huskies would advance out of their regular season finale. ELAC, however, has improved with each meet and today was no different. Six Huskies ran personal records.

Freshman English major Daniel Morales (Bravo Medical Magnet School) placed 20th. It is the second time in three years that a Husky finished in the Top-20. He finished with his third personal record of the season when it counted most. Morales finished with a time of 21:07.4 minutes, which is almost two minutes faster than his previous best time.

Fire technology major Justin Frias (Arroyo HS) placed No.2 for the Huskies with a personal record of 23:19.2, his third of the season. Business administration major Joshua Cardenas came in next for the Huskies with a lifetime record of 24:50.1. He ran under 25 minutes for the first time in his 2-year ELAC career. Cardenas improved 15 minutes from last year and is the most improved sophomore at ELAC in almost two decades.

Placing next for the Huskies was sophomore Arturo Fernandez with a time of 26:00.0. This was quite a feat for Fernandez who has been out of action for a month. Rounding out the scoring for ELAC was freshman Isaac Alegandrealbizures (Vail HS), a Journalism major. All five men advance to SoCal.

Other Huskies included mathematics major Daniel Garcia (Bell Gardens HS) who ended his freshman season with a personal record. Freshman Jairo Espinoza (Synergy Quantum Academy) followed with a personal record and moves on to SoCal. Espinoza edged teammate Efren Machorro (La Causa YouthBuild Charter School of California) who is majoring in Architectural Drafting for the final SoCal spot.


The SoCal finals will take place next Friday at 11 a.m. The Don Knabe Regional Park is located at 19700 Bloomfield Ave., Cerritos, CA.

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submitted by Tadzio Garcia