The duo of Rosa Del Toro and Nina Moore share a meal of pasta and pizza at Deli News before every meet. Despite the seemingly unconventional pre-race meal, the pair has led the Long Beach State cross country team this season.
For two consecutive meets, Del Toro and Moore have finished on top of the 49ers’ leaderboard. The transfer students — both from Glendale Community College — have made a strong debut in just two races, leading LBSU in both the Aztec Invitational and the Stanford Invitational.
Del Toro has seen great success early on in the season, placing first overall in the 5,000-meter race at the Aztec Invitational. She was later named Big West Conference athlete of the week after her performance.
Moore made her official LBSU debut at the Aztec Invitational and finished second right behind Del Toro to help put The Beach in second place overall behind Brigham Young. She is the reigning individual champion at the junior college level.
The Van Nuys, Calif., native Del Toro paced the 49ers in the 6,000-meter Stanford Invitational, finishing 22nd overall with a time of 21:30. Moore followed closely behind her, finishing 26th with a time of 21:38.
Del Toro said she likes to pace herself throughout the race.
“There is never a point where I should be comfortable, I should always be hurting,” Del Toro said.
Despite doing well, the duo said they are using the invitationals as practice.
Moore said the races are good to learn how to pace yourself, and hopefully be better at the end of the season. Teammate Del Toro uses the races as a trial and error.
“It’s a learning experience every time,” Del Toro said. “Different strategies, depending on the course.”
Although both are standout transfer students from Glendale Community College, the tandem of Moore and Del Toro has its differences.
The women spend most of their time running in the offseason, Moore said she goes for an occasional swim or bike ride. Del Toro, on the other hand, said she spends her free time running.
“I run year round,” Del Toro said.
Patrick Cunniff, head coach of the LBSU cross country team, credited the runners’ success to hard work and a great attitude.
“The two love to run, love to compete, and that’s a big part of their success,” Cunniff said.
Although both came from the same school, Moore and Del Toro were recruited and evaluated individually, Cunniff said.
The cross country team will have its next meet at the Santa Clara Invitational in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Oct. 16.