After a strong showing at the Northwest Athletic Conference Preview cross country championships on Sept. 27, the Titans are nearing the home stretch of their season. The Titans gained momentum in their last two races of the regular season, the George Fox/Wes Creek Invitational and the Southern Regional.
Freshman Ben Harter continued his strong season after a third place finish last week at the NWAC preview. At the George Fox Invitational held in Brooks, Ore. Harter ran to a fourth place finish with a time of 26:00.2, helping pace the Titans to a team victory total of 48 points. Sophomore Jonathan Cornish finished seventh in 26:20.8. Freshman Daniel Padilla, freshman Gabe Collins, and sophomores David Cornish and Carlos Camacho all finished in the top 20.
After this strong showing at the George Fox Invitational, the Titans returned home for a week to train for their last regular season race before the 2014 NWAC championships, the Southern Regional held at Clackamas Community College on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The Southern Regional offered 2013 All-American Jonathan Cornish an opportunity to redeem himself. He had suffered two injuries earlier this year, leaving him to play catch up for most of the season. After a solid race last week, however, he was poised for a breakout race.
“All season long I haven’t lived up to my potential, but going into this race I felt healthy and I knew I was going to do something special,” Cornish said.
At the Southern Regional, Cornish battled with Harter throughout, eventually pulling away late for a first place finish in 26:15, with Harter finishing second in 26:24.
For Cornish the victory left a feeling of validation. “The victory is a big confidence booster for me and our team,” Cornish said. “I knew I had to race well at regionals to help us get the team title.”
The Titans collected 38 team points, racing to their second consecutive win and narrowly beating Clackamas Community College with 37 team points. Once again the Titans were consistent with five men racing in the top 20.
With the regular season complete, the Titans shift their focus towards the post-season and the 2014 NWAC Cross Country championships at Battle Ground Washington on Saturday, Nov. 8. Finishing their regular season with two consecutive victories, the Titans are peaking at the right time in their pursuit of an NWAC cross country championship crown.
“The team is on the same page about mentally preparing to challenge for team titles. It’s all about getting the job done,” coach Mike Blackmore said.