The San Bernardino Valley College men’s cross country team is the state champion — again.
The Wolverines captured their third straight community college state title Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno. The Wolverines had three runners in the top 10 and five in the top 25.
SBVC had a total of 50 points, 27 more than runner-up San Diego Mesa. Rounding out the top five were Orange Coast (147), Rio Hondo (172) and Mt. SAC (210).
“It feels great,” coach Wes Ashford said. “Every year is a new year so it’s different. I’m just happy for the kids because they worked hard to get here.”
Sophomore Carlos Perez led the effort, finishing third over the four-mile course in 20:19.05. He also placed third individually last year. It is his fourth straight state title, dating back to his CIF championship teams his last two years at Barstow High School.
Sophomore Matt Sartori, another holdover from last year’s team, was fifth (20:23.85). Also scoring for the Wolverines were Jared Bain (10th in 20:36.58), Art Parra (18th 20:56.06) and Manuel Bueno (21st in 20:5926).
The non-scoring runners were Ankur Joshi (25th in 21:02.01) and Ronell El-Amin (35th in 21:09.72).
“We felt good warming up but you never know what the other teams are going to do so I told them just to focus on ourselves and running our own race,” Ashford said.
The Wolverines, who won the Foothill Conference and Southern California Regionals earlier this season, both by wide margins, celebrated by racing go-karts and playing laser tag at a nearby gaming facility before heading home.
“I promised them if they won they could mess around and have a little fun,” Ashford said.
Freshman A.J. Pulice of Victor Valley qualified as an individual. He placed 69th (21:34.87) out of 199 runners.
Orange Coast won the women’s title with 84 points, just edging out second-place Glendale (86).
Victor Valley qualified two girls, as Melissa Hernandez was 64th (19:64.06) and Monique Hoover was 71st (20:07.64) out of 191 athletes.