The Long Beach State cross country season concluded Friday at the NCAA West Regional Meet hosted by Washington State in Colfax, Washington. The men finished 21st out of 28 and the women finished 32nd out of 35.
The men were led by sophomore Raymon Ornelas who ran a lifetime best in the men’s 10K with a time of 31:20.90, placing him 76th overall. The men’s 21st place finish was the highest in the competition since 2013 where they finished 17th.
The men ran a solid race, and despite not being able to meet their preseason goal of finishing top-15 in the region, head coach Shawn Winget was still proud.
“I think they really rebounded from conference,” Winget said. “Having Raymond [Ornelas] back in the scoring was beneficial, he ran a really solid race. After the conference race, I’m fairly pleased with what they did.”
The women were led as usual by senior Alyssa Allen, who in her last race for Long Beach State finished 153rd with a time of 22:18.20.
The women struggled again in a familiar spot. They started the race strong but were unable to finish the same, possibly due to the cold and rainy conditions they raced in. The track was for the women’s 6K was broken up into three laps.
“The last lap we fell apart a little bit,” Winget said, “I think we lost some focus and were worried about cold arms and cold hands and being wet and cold, and not focusing on the job at hand.”
Despite the low placings, Winget was glad to see his team bounce back from a bad race at the Big West Conference and put together a solid race.
“We went out and did our job, they are a pretty talented group,” Winget said. “If we get everybody clicking on the right day were really good.”
The women are also a group that has the potential to be a dangerous squad if they are able to overcome some mental lapses and put together a complete race.
“We’re right at the cusp of being a really solid girls team, we just can’t get over that hump,” Winget said. “They see it, we just can’t get over it. Once it gets really tough they tend to struggle.”
Like after every season, the coaching staff will reevaluate the season, and figure out what they can do better next year. One thing Winget said he’s looking to change is filling in the month training block.
From Sept. 14 to Oct. 19 the team didn’t run any races and instead focused on just training. Next season they will experiment by adding a race to hopefully add some consistency to the season.
Now that the season is over, many of the cross country athletes will be transitioning over to track and field, and will begin training next week.
As for the coaching staff, they will dive into recruiting and work on finding ways to prepare for next year’s team to have success.