Men's Cross Country Team extends winning streak to seven consecutive seasons
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CHINO HILLS, Calif. - Dynasties in most sports are built one game at a time. In cross country it's one mile at a time. That's what Coach Greg Phillips told three returnees and a half-dozen freshmen at the start of the season. Even so, prospects for a winning season looked dim after graduation and attrition claimed eight of the team's 11- man roster. It had been eight years since the Whittier College Men's Cross Country Team found themselves finishing their conference schedule in the bottom half of the nine-member SCIAC. That was a disappointing 6th place in 2010. The team, entering the SCIAC Championships in an unfamiliar 5th place with No. 4 man senior KamRon Perry (San Jose, Calif.) compromised by injury, were determined to make certain it wouldn't happen again.
Patience and perseverance paid-off for Whittier's distance runners on Saturday following months of "one-mile-at-a-time" training. Tough racing up front, and hard-fought battles in the mid-pack trenches, secured enough position to, once again, move the Poets to the top-half of the conference. Freshmen Dylan Highducheck (Gardena, Calif.) surged throughout the race to shadow David Del Carmen's placement as Whittier's 5th and 4th finishers. Crucial front positions went to junior Julian Sandoval (El Monte, Calif.) (2nd place), freshman Benjamin White (La Habra Heights, Calif.) (11th place) and sophomore William Howells (Webster Grove, MO) (21st place). On the most technically challenging 8000m course of the season the Poets prevailed and maneuvered themselves to a fine 4th place showing among the 124 SCIAC runners who found the finish-line.
The team will return to competition against the entire NCAA West Region and seek a high team finish and qualifying spots for the National Championships in two weeks November 11, at Pomona-Pitzer.