Tigers Blaze Trail En Route to OEC Crown

Ulysses Orozco leads the pack over the bridge at the 2015 OEC Finals held at Mason Park in Irvine.
Ulysses Orozco leads the pack over the bridge at the 2015 OEC Finals held at Mason Park in Irvine.

IRVINE – With five of its top runners filling up the top 10 spots, the Riverside City College Tigers left no doubt as to which team was the pace-setter at the Orange Empire Conference Cross Country Championships as the Tigers captured the 2015 title on Friday at Mason Park.

Packs of RCC runners crossed the finish line, one after another, as the Tigers wrapped up the title with a team score of 35 points, followed by Saddleback (65), Santa Ana (73), Orange Coast (81), Santiago Canyon (134), Fullerton (150) and Golden West (208).

It was anyone's race to win through the first half of the 4-mile event, with Saddleback's Ulysses Orozco, RCC's Joshua Silva and Santa Ana's Paulino Sanchez leading the front pack.

Finally, with just over a mile to go, Orozco, who finished runner-up at last year's OEC championship meet, began to pull away from the field and won the individual title with a time of 20 minutes, 34.56 seconds. Silva finished second at 20:47.63, while Sanchez (21:03.69) finished third.

This outstanding trio of runners is joined by Santa Ana's Geovany Garcia (4th, 21:04.64), Santiago Canyon's Forrest Riley (5th, 21:08.84), Riverside's Jeronimo Brito (6th, 21:10.27) and Orange Coast College's Galyn Nash (7th, 21:13.81) as first-team, All-Orange Empire Conference selections for their top-seven results.

Second-team honors go to RCC's Cristian Malloy (8th, 21:19.76), Tiger teammate Anthony Arvizu (9th, 21:20.36), RCC's Michael Simpson (10th, 21:27.91), Saddleback's Wyndal Skarsten (21:31.35), OCC's Danny Dominguez (21:36.88) and RCC teammates Austin Chavez (13th, 21:38.37) and Isaiah Quiambo (14th, 21:39.09).

In all, 15 of the first 40 runners who crossed the finish line ran for Riverside City College and out of those 15, 13 are first-year runners, so the future is looking extremely bright for the Tigers' cross country program for 2016.

Up next for the competitors is a trip to San Diego's Mission Bay Park for the 2015 Southern California Regional Meet, which will take place on Friday at 10 a.m.