Westmont men’s and women’s Cross Country continued their season on Saturday when they competed in the Cougar Challenge, hosted by Cal State San Marcos. Out of 17 schools, both the men’s and women’s teams placed seventh.
Individually, the highlight of the day was the performance of All-American Zola Sokhela, who finished third overall in the 12th-ranked men’s race. Sokhela completed the 8K in 24:24.6, which was exactly eight seconds behind Chico State’s Nixon Korir, who won the race.
“Zola ran a focused and assertive race,” offered head coach Russell Smelley. “He ran like a champion.”
The next Warrior to cross the finish line was Danny Rubin, who finished the race in 41st place with a time of 25:44.9. Adam King and Garrett Miller were the third and fourth runners for the Warriors, with King coming in at 26:17.4, and Miller finishing with a time of 26:35.5.
Rounding out the top-five for Westmont was Jack Vanden Heuvel, who came in 95th with a time of 26:48.9.
“Danny bounced back with a solid performance after struggling at the Vanguard Invite,” said Smelley. “Some runners are fighting a cold right now, and still fought really hard. Adam had an aggressive second half of the race to help team scoring, allowing us to come in ahead of #11 Embry-Riddle.”
On the 15th-ranked women’s side, freshman Anne West continued her impressive debut season by being the first Warrior to finish the 6K. West finished in 19th place with a time of 22:05.4, with All-American Anneline Breytenbach coming in 26th with a time of 22:16.5.
The Hundley sisters were Westmont’s third and fourth finishers, with Abigail coming in with a time of 22:54.8, and Madden finishing in 23:05.7. Landon Torres rounded out Westmont’s top five with a 65th place finish and a time of 23:22.8.
Stanislaus State’s Kaela Dishion won the women’s race with a time of 20:48.3.
“Anne West continues to impress with her assertive running style,” complimented Smelley. “The women’s team worked together to stay competitive the entire race and put forward a good team performance. They beat #13 Embry-Riddle to solidify their ranking as a top-15 team.”
Overall, Westmont’s women came in seventh with 195 points, while Stanislaus won it with 28 points. For the men, Westmont’s seventh-place finish came with 210 points, while Chico State won it with 32.
Both teams return to competition on Saturday, Oct. 8, in Claremont, where they will compete in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.