The Yuba College Cross Country team wrapped up the season on Friday, October 29, at the Conference Championships in Santa Rosa. The 49ers did not qualify for the Nor Cal Championships which took place in San Mateo on Saturday, November 6.
The Bay Valley Conference, which Yuba College is part of, is the largest conference in competition. According to Cross Country coach Rick Browning, it is also a “super, super fast conference.” The conference is being split into two difference conferences because it’s just unfair for small schools like Yuba College, said Coach Browning.
Two years ago Coach Browning took his runners not only to the Nor Cal Championships but to State Championships as well. Rachel Merriam, who is a freshman this year ran faster than the first place runner for the team two years ago, yet did not qualify to move on. According to Browning, Rachel Merriam is probably the best woman runner to come through Yuba in ten years. Adam Coverdell is running faster as a freshman than Zach Stuller did as a freshman and Stuller was the fastest runner on the team two years ago.
According to Browning, his runners’ times would have qualified in any other conference, but because of the size of Bay Valley Conference, the strong Yuba runners did not qualify for Nor Cal.
It was a frustrating way to end the season, said Browning, but the performance of the team is something to be proud of.
Rachel Merriam ranked 20th with a personal record of 22:01. Forty-six year old Carol Kent ranked 28th with a time of 23:07 and Grace Lan finished with a personal record of 29:53. Adam Coverdell ranked 26th with a time of 23:47 and Jordan Goreman finished 33rd with a personal record of 25:44.
Yuba faced two teams prior to the Conference Championships. They competed in the Butte College Invitational and the Beaver Invitational.
The Yuba team had a difficult meet at the Butte College Invitational on Friday, September 24. The course was a new venture even for the host college. According to Browning, “the course was really rugged.” Teams had to be re-routed by their coaches because of the confusion.
Yuba College runner Adam Coverdell got lost on the track and didn’t have enough time to even rank. Rachel Merriam ranked 3rd overall with a time of 23:41. Grace Lan ranked 10th overall with a time of 30:58.
The Beaver Invitational which took place on Saturday, October 9, was held on a high school campus. According to Browning, “It was like running in Hollywood.” Unfortunately the course was built to be a two mile course for high school runners, so stretching it into four miles for the college meet meant adding a lot of loops. Coach Browning said it was “a very funky course.”
Rachel Merriam ranked 27th with a personal record of 22:33. Carol Kent, who had just recovered from an injury, ranked 37th with a time of 23:42. Adam Coverdell ranked 42nd with a time of 26:08 and Jordan Goreman ranked 56th with a time of 28:02.
As a team Yuba College ranked 9th overall and welcomed three new runners to the team: Chris Etchyson, Pedro Lopez and Grant Joyner.