Cross-country makes record books

The California Lutheran University men and women’s cross-country teams had two runners break into Cal Lutheran’s top 10 all-time list for the course during the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

Held on Saturday, Oct. 6, the invitational marked the last race before they head to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships in late October.

Coach Brett Halvaks said he was very impressed with the team’s performance; two Kingsmen earned lifetime personal bests and earned spots on Cal Lutheran’s top 10 all-time list for the Pamona-Pitzer course and two Regals earned spots on Cal Lutheran’s top 25 all-time list for the course.

Halvaks said prior to the invitational on Saturday, he had bumped up the team’s training to a “very aggressive approach,” as it is their last competition before the team heads to championships in three weeks.

Sophomore Nikita Khromets said the invitational was very well-organized; the hosts had set up time clocks at every mile marker, so he was able to mark his anticipated mile splits and compare them to his splits during the race.

Khromets said after seeing how close his projected times were to his real time, it made it easy to push through the pain and finish strong. He finished in under 27 minutes for the first time and 21st overall with a lifetime personal record of 26:57.6. His performance earned him a spot on Cal Lutheran’s top 10 all-time list for the course.

“[I] trusted the training throughout the week. I focused on the guys in front because they are in SCIAC too and I just tried to pass as many people as I could,” Khromets said.

Junior captain Rigoberto Baza Carillo also ran a lifetime personal record of 27:12.9, putting him in the ninth spot on the top 10 all-time list for the course.

Halvaks also said he was impressed with the women’s team results. Junior Rachel Ereso led the women’s team even after experiencing some problems with asthma during the race.

“Rachel Ereso, who’s a top 25 athlete for both cross-country and…long distance track, experienced a flair up with her asthma early in the race,” Halvaks said. “She’s not one to make excuses no matter the situation…She is tough and she pushed through because that’s the kind of person she is.”

Ereso finished the race 42nd overall with a time of 24:20.2.

First-year Caroline Slate earned 16th overall on the Cal Lutheran top 25 all-time list for the course with a time of 24:49.0, in her second ever cross-country race. Halvaks said it was impressive to see an athlete who had never participated in cross-country in high school do so well so early on in her collegiate career.

Slate said even though cross-country is a fairly new experience to her, the competition mindset is not. Slate, who has a background in showing and riding horses, said she was never really nervous, but it is just a different experience overall because you must endure the pain during a run and you just have to get through it.

Sophomore Olivia Becker earned the 23rd spot on the top 25 list for the course, with her time of 25:35.9.

With three weeks until the SCIAC championships, Halvaks said the team will slowly start to cut their mileage by about 10 to 15 percent, but still maintain intensity and emphasis on recovery and rest.

Khromets said the team is seeded below where they think they should be, but after the performances on Saturday, he really believes the team can come into the conference with the “underdog mentality” and to compete against higher ranked schools.

The cross-country SCIAC championships will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Prado Park in Chino, California.

Dominick Grimm