After more than two months of ups, downs and injuries, Sacramento State’s men’s cross country team ended their season Saturday at the Doc Adams Invitational in Davis, while three runners from the women’s team competed for the right to race one more time.
Freshman Annette Acosta’s efforts earned her the seventh and final spot on her team’s roster for Friday’s NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships in Stanford.
“I’m very excited and happy,” Acosta said.
Acosta finished the women’s 6K course at the Putah Creek Reserve in 23:00, good for second place overall among 41 runners.
“Today’s meet I felt pretty strong,” Acosta said. “It was kind of slow the first mile, but we just stayed with the leading pack.”
Acosta was leading the race until the final stretch, when she was passed by Hannah Dorman of Chico State, who finished with a time of 22:54.
“I think the challenge for me was the last 400, where the girl passed me,” Acosta said. “I was just already on my breaking point and I couldn’t go with her, but I tried.”
Coach Joe Eby was impressed by Acosta’s performance.
“For more of a track-type runner to be out here and be competing for a win in a collegiate cross country race as a freshman is pretty darn good,” Eby said. “There’s a lot of pressure on them to try to get that last spot to go to regionals and she definitely rose to the occasion.”
Senior Adrianna Royal took fifth place overall, finishing the 6K at Davis in 24:01. Sac State’s final finisher, Lizette Gonzalez, turned in a time of 24:37, good for 10th place.
Eby’s choice not to send the men’s team to the West Regional, with the exception of senior Jacob Huston, meant that the Doc Adams Invitational was an optional last race of the season for the men.
Sam Scheuer was the fastest finisher on Sac State’s team, running the 8K in 25:40 and taking 12th place out of 47 finishers. Eric Molina was just two spots behind him, finishing at 25:50, good for 14th overall.
Sac State student and track athlete Christian Gonzalez ran unattached and finished 11th with a time of 25:36, four seconds ahead of Scheuer.
Edwardo Vasquez rounded out Sac State’s finishers with a time of 26:37, earning him 27th place.
“All in all for the guys, I was really happy with the way they competed,” Eby said. “We had a handful of them that really wanted to finish on a good note. I think they were able to accomplish that today.”
Neither Sac State’s men’s team men nor the women’s squad had enough runners to qualify for a team rank. The same held true for the host school, UC Davis, whose top runners sat out the Doc Adams Invitational in preparation for the West Regional.
Scheuer reflected on running his last race of the cross country season.
“For the last race you just always have to give it your all,” Scheuer said. “I feel like that’s what I did, and that’s what the team did today. Even though we didn’t run the best times, we all went out there and gave it our all.”
Sac State’s season will continue for Huston and the women’s team. These eight runners will race in the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships 11 a.m. Friday in Stanford.