The Las Positas men’s cross country team spent this past Saturday in Oakland for the Mills College Invitational. The place was packed with talent from all over northern California including former Las Positas stars.
Even with the departure of last year’s state qualifiers Will Weekes (Cal State East Bay) and Scott Trummer (UC Davis), both of whom finished in the top 10 at the meet, the Hawks were able to place 2nd overall as a team in a field of 19 schools represented at the meet. Second place is a good finish considering the influx of talent from four-year schools that were present, including former Hawk Ivan Medina who came in first overall. However, Coach Navarro feels they could have won it.
“We won this event three of the last five years,” Navarro said. “We still did good, but as a coach you always hope for a little more.”
Leading the way for the hawks were sophomores Arthur Ruvalcaba and Jesse Chestnut. Ruvalcaba and Chestnut finished with the 12th and 13th top times, respectively, overall at the meet. Ruvalcaba was able to make up for a less than stellar showing at Fresno, where he barely finished with the 4th best time on the team. He got the top time for LPC at 29:12.
“Arthur came back pretty good this week,” Navarro said. “It looks like he’s getting back on track.”
Ruvalcaba is looking to have the success that his former running mates Will Weekes and Scott Trummer enjoyed last season. Their hard work and dedication to the track seems to have rubbed off on him. Ruvalcaba started to run more in the summer and as the results show, the hard work is starting to pay off.
“Will used to run 60-70 miles a week, I use that as motivation to work even harder,” Ruvalcaba said. “Now I’m running about 50-60 miles every week.”
Navarro feels Ruvalcaba and Chestnut saw the rewards that Weekes and Trummer got last
year, and have stepped their game up since the start of the off season.
“They see these guys getting scholarships and they want to get in on it,” Navarro said.
Competing in meets like the Mills Invitational and the Lou Vasquez Invitational that took place on Sept. 20 gives the runners a chance to get recruited by other schools and possibly receive schol- arships. The competition in these events is mostly made up of four-year schools which makes the events tougher because the distances are five miles instead of the usual four mile races for community college events.
“The reason we enter these longer distance meets is to get our guys looked at by the four-year colleges,” Navarro said. “That’s how East Bay got Weekes and UC Davis got Scotty (Trummer) last year. We want to get these guys some money.”
One of those guys hoping to get noticed is freshman runner Tyler Menniti. Menniti finished with the sixth best time for LPC at 30:55. While he admits to being a little overwhelmed by running five miles instead of the normal four miles, Menniti was still pleased with his performance this past Saturday.
“It was my first five mile race, so I had no idea what to expect,” Menniti said. “Overall, the Mills invite went well.”
Menniti enjoys the camaraderie going on amongst the team. If they can continue to help each other out, he sees no reason for there not to be at least seven of them representing LPC in Fresno later this year for the state finals.
“The team chemistry is great. We have a good mix of fast veterans and young blood on the team,” Menniti said. “The team is coming together and I think our top seven guys will make it to state with ease, probably more if the younger guys keep working hard.”
While Menniti sees at least seven people making state, Coach Navarro thinks the whole team will make state. To him, it will be a letdown if even one guy does not make it.
Every school can have a maximum number of seven runners qualify for state. In order to be able to send their top seven, the school must finish in the top 10 overall at the regional race. Menniti has the same expectations as Coach Navarro. Navarro also believes the top seven runners will make state. To him, it will be a letdown if even one guy does not make it.
“I would be very shocked if not everyone makes state, that’s how deep I think our team is,” Navarro said.
The next meet for the hawks is the Crystal Springs Invitational which takes place Friday, September 28, at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
With high expectations, the hawks will look to put together another strong team performance.
Coach Navarro says that anyone interested in joining the team should contact him at snavvoro@ laspositascollege.edu or by telephone at (925) 424-1252.