Men finish third, women finish fourth at NWAACC tournament
Alan K. Fox - THE TORCH
The Titans cross country season came to an end on a cold misty day Nov. 13.
Clackamas Community College in Oregon City was the stage for the team's performance during the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' Championships.
Both the men and women were looking to improve on their performances at the NWAACC Southern Regionals, where both teams finished second behind Clark on Oct. 30.
Coming into the meet, the men were projected to finish fifth. The team came into the competition focused and were able to finish in third, earning LCC another trophy to add to the case.
"The men had a very gutsy showing and all the guys wanted it today, and it showed," head coach John Scholl said. "We don't have the talent, depth, or front-runners that Spokane, Everett, and Clark do, but we definitely showed that we can compete with the best when we need to."
The top finisher for the men was freshman Jacob Berkner, who finished 12th in the 8k run with a time of 26:40.87.
The only other Titan runner to finish in the top 20 was freshman Aria Kiani, who finished 19th with a time of 26:53.04.
"The meet went very successful. Our team was expected to come in fifth, but Coach Scholl told us that if we wanted to be top-3 we'd have to want it," Kiani said. "I think we executed the race very strong, staying packed is what got us to slip into that third place spot."
"Our team seemed very confident coming into this race, and for good reason," sophomore Sean Kohles, who finished 45th overall, said. "After each race the Titans got wiggly with it and moved mean, and it showed up in the results."
The women, on the other hand, came into the meet projected to be among the top three finishers and possibly the favorite to take home the title.
The women ended up finishing fourth, just seven points behind third-place finisher Everett.
The Titans were led again by NWACC Southern Region champion sophomore MaCayla Claver, who finished seventh-overall with a time of 19:01.47 in the 5k race.
Claver, who came down with an illness days before the meet, earned herself NWAACC All-American honors for her performance.
Freshman Rachel Jensen finished three seconds behind Claver and finished eighth.
"Today wasn't our day to win, but I'm still proud of how our teams competed," Jensen said.
The Titans had two other runners finish among the top 20. Freshmen Laura Jackson and Gylany Crossman finished 14th with a time of 19:14.28, and 18th with a time of 19:22.83, respectively.
"I really enjoyed running on the fast course at NWAACCs," Jackson said. "I know that I put in a lot of effort and I feel that I had a pretty good race to show it. Everyone worked really hard as a team and I feel that the hard work definitely payed off."
Scholl was disappointed that the season ended the way it did for the women.
"Our women's team ran tough, but it just wasn't our day," Scholl said. "All the gals gave everything they had, but it's too bad that the results didn't show it. I'm bummed that our gal's season had to end this way because they've come so far since the beginning of the season."
Although the women were visibly disappointed, they remained upbeat about their performance.
"Our team gave an overall good performance in the NWAACC meet," freshman Lisa Martin said. "There were a lot of competitive teams, and I thought we did a great job in doing our best to compete."
"Some of the team just had an off day, and that happens in running," freshman Caitlynn Holmes said. "It's too bad it happened to us at NWAACCs, but I'm still proud of how our girls fought through it and did the best that we could on that day."
All but four runners on the Titans' team are freshmen and should be returning for next season. The team is excited to improve on the success and growth that it gained over the season.
"Knowing that most of our teammates are freshmen next year will have once again a even more solid team," Kiani said.
Martin says that since many of the runners - both men and women - are in their first year at LCC, it makes next year look doubly exciting for the Titans. Scholl agrees.
"Several of these guys are freshmen, which bodes well for next cross country season," Scholl added.
Overall, Scholl was very happy with the season as a whole.
"I'm proud of all of our runners and coaching staff," Sholl said. "Again, I wish the results really showed how well we actually performed today, but each one of these kids should walk away feeling good about how they ran today and throughout the season."
Both the men and women runners will participate in track and field during the spring. The strides that both teams have made during the fall have the coaching staff looking forward to March.
"After seeing how our entire team has improved and gotten stronger over the season, I'm excited about the track season that gets rolling in March 2011," Scholl said.