For College of the Canyons cross country, performing well in a meet is great. But performing well in a meet that’s hosted by COC is better.
The Cougars will host the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Preview at Central Park on Sept. 15. The invitational will serve as a precursor to the CCCAA Southern California Championships, which take place on Nov. 3.
“We’re gearing up for those two big meets,” said coach Lindie Kane.
Stephanie Martinez (Canyon High graduate) and Diani Ellis return to a strong women’s core, along with Celine Whitman (Saugus).
Each was integral in the sixth-place finish at the state championships and second-place finish in conference last season.
Ellis was the top Canyons runner at the state meet, finishing 24th overall to add to an already impressive running resume. She is the reigning state champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after clocking 11 minutes and 15.61 seconds at the CCCAA State Championships.
Martinez finished 41st at the state cross country meet and was also named All-Western State Conference first team, while Whitman was 80th at state.
Valencia High alumna Amanda Finn and Lupe Alanis (Hart) can contribute as freshmen this season.
Garrett Noltemeyer (Valencia) will anchor the men’s team after being the top finisher at the state meet for the Cougars last season. He recorded a time of 21:52.9 for a 21st-place finish.
Kane said she also expects big things from Jacob Crosson, a Saugus grad, and Travis Cetti, an incoming freshman.
“Individually we have the runners that are capable of being individual championship runners,” Kane said. “We also have the capabilities of having several of our athletes earn All-American honors.
“We’ll just have to work hard as a team. The goal is to finish as high as we can in state.”
The Cougars begin the season on Aug. 25 in Oxnard at the Oxnard Invitational.