COC sophomore Jessica Ruiz posted a time of 18:53.1 on the 5K course to finish fourth overall at the Western State Conference Championships last Friday. Photo courtesy Mike Whitman/COC Sports
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The postseason push for the College of the Canyons cross country program began at last week’s Western State Conference Championships, with both teams running their way to an automatic qualification for next month’s California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Regional Championships.

Led by a pair of top-five individual finishers, the No. 4 state ranked COC women’s team placed second at the event, which was hosted by Oxnard College.

COC sophomore Jessica Ruiz posted a time of 18 minutes, 53.1 seconds on the 5K course to place fourth overall. Ruiz has now finished Top-10 in six of the team’s eight events this season.

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Freshman Stephanie Martinez also had a strong run with her fifth place time of 18:58.6. Martinez has been a key contributor for Canyons all season, having also had six top-10 finishes.

Sophomores Chelsea Wells (20:31) and Díani Ellis (20:41.8) finished next for Canyons in 24th and 28th place, respectively. Freshman Celine Whitman ran to a time of 21:09.5 to place 33rd for Canyons.

The Cougars women’s team finished tied for second with Cuesta College, trailing only conference champion Glendale College.

For the COC men’s team, it was freshman Garrett Noltemeyer’s 18th place time of 22:00.3 on the 4-mile course that helped push the Cougars to a sixth place result in claiming the final SoCal Regional team qualification from the WSC.

Sophomore Jake Higson (22:17.7) in 28th place was the next to cross for Canyons, followed by sophomore Mauricio La Plante (22:22.8) in 32nd place.

Freshman Cody Roelofson (22:27.1) finished just a few seconds off that mark in 33rd, while freshman Christopher Ochoa (22:30.0) was next in 36th place.

Canyons finished with a score of 129 to trail Moorpark (121), West L.A. (96), Santa Barbara (88), Cuesta (80) and conference champions Glendale College (27).

Both programs will now prepare for the CCCAA SoCal Championships being held Nov. 4 at Irvine Regional Park.

Women’s soccer

The No. 8 ranked COC women’s soccer team is in the midst of a five-game winning streak, with the Cougars also boasting a 23-game undefeated streak vs. WSC opponents.

Canyons has not lost a conference match since falling 1-0 to Santa Monica College back on Oct. 28, 2014 — having posted a 20-0-3 record during that span.

Last Friday, the team recorded its fifth consecutive shutout with a 2-0 victory over Citrus College. COC has outscored its opponents 20-0 during the streak.

Canyons goalkeeper Kianna Hemphill (10-3-1) has played a large role in that success, as the sophomore currently ranks first in the conference and third in the state with 10 wins. Her six shutouts are tied for first in the WSC while ranking 10th in the state, and her 1.03 goals against average is good for fifth in the conference.

COC freshman forward Taylor Lopez leads the team with five assists to rank eighth in the conference, just two off the top spot.

As a team, the Cougars are tied for third in the WSC with 37 goals on the season.

COC will look to keep its streak intact with a home conference match vs. Bakersfield College at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Men’s soccer

The COC men’s soccer team traveled to Citrus College and came home with a win on Tuesday, as the Cougars pulled through with a second-half goal from Adrian Arguello to claim the 1-0 victory.

The goal, which was unassisted, was Arguello’s first of the season.

COC goalkeeper Cristian Arriaga (6-10-1) was credited with his fourth shutout of the season after making three saves in the contest.

Arriaga currently ranks first in the WSC and fifth in the state with 87 saves. His four shutouts place him third in the conference and his .744 save percentage is eighth in the WSC.

Canyons (6-10-1, 2-3) is currently tied for third in the WSC, South. The Cougars will host second place Glendale College (8-6-2, 3-1-1) at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Women’s golf

The COC women’s golf team competed at Western State Conference Tournament No. 8 on Monday, with two Cougars finishing in the top 15.

COC sophomore Amanda Horri was the top finisher for Canyons after carding a score of 84 to finish tied for eighth place. Horri, who won medalist honors at WSC Tourney No. 6 at Bakersfield earlier this month, currently sits in ninth place in the individual conference standings. She is averaging 84.43 strokes per round this season, having played in seven of eight conference events.

COC freshman Aeleen Brott finished her round with a score of 88 to place 14th at Monday’s event. Brott is currently the conference’s 11th-ranked player, averaging 88 strokes per round through eight events.

Next week’s WSC Finals at Crystalaire Golf Course in Llano will consist of 36 holes played over two days on Oct. 30-31.

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