After a disappointing finish at the South Region Championships, the Lane men’s cross-country team had a shot at redemption at the Nov. 9 NWAACC championships in Battleground, Wash.
They took full advantage.
In one of the closest NWAACC championship races in recent memory, Lane finished second with 52 points, just two points behind champion <br/>Everett Community College.
“Coming into this meet, we knew that nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves and that was the biggest thing,” Lane freshman Jonathan Cornish said. “I was so confident in our guys coming in. I knew that we could upset some teams.”
Cornish paced the Titans, <br/>finishing third with a time of 24:23, and was followed by freshmen Eduardo Juarez, who finished fifth in 24:39, and David Cornish, who was eighth with a time of 24:57. Jonathan Cornish and Juarez borth earned All-American honors for the titans.
“I’m pretty proud of these guys. I thought we were looking at third place — maybe even fourth,” Titans head coach Mike Blackmore said. “I still had some apprehensions about the back of our pack, but they got it done today and obviously our front three raced awesome.”
Freshmen Matt Campbell and Efrain Jaime Ramos ran their strongest races of the season for Lane, finishing 15th and 21st with times of 25:22 and 25:38, respectively, to round out the Titans’ top five.
“It was eye-opening because I haven’t done that well in a race this year,” Campbell said. “My pacing was little better today. I didn’t go out as fast at the start, and I just started moving up as the race went on.”
Campbell and Jaime Ramos both made late surges to pick up crucial points for the Titans, while Jonathan Cornish, David Cornish and Juarez spent the entire race battling Daniel Schofield of Spokane and Jorge <br/>Gil-Juarez of Clackamas at the front of the pack.
Schofield was crowned champion after running a time of 24:20, finishing just inches ahead of Gil Juarez, who dove across the line in a last-gasp attempt to gain position.
“Jonathan tried to steal an individual championship and he came up short by two guys who were just a little <br/>better today, and Eduardo and David just ran great races,” Blackmore said.
Clackamas was considered by <br/>Blackmore to be the race favorites heading into meet, but the Cougars <br/>finished third with 69 points, due in part to disappointing finishes by sophomore Badane Sultessa, the South Region’s individual champion, and sophomore Jackson Baker.
“Clackamas just tore us up two weeks ago at (regional championships), but I had a feeling that that might have been their championship race,” Blackmore said.
With the 2013 season in the books, Lane now has its eyes set on next year’s NWAACC crown.
The Titans expect to return their entire team for next season, and will also benefit from the return of redshirt-freshman Javier Velasco, who spent the 2013 season recovering from a knee injury.
“Next year is gonna be <br/>really good for us I think,” Campbell said. “Honestly, the sky’s the limit for us next year.”