SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The 2019 season will get underway on Friday night for the Sacramento State cross country team at the Bonanza Casino Nevada Twilight Classic. The race will take place at Miro Loma Park in Reno, Nev., and will see the men run an 8K at 7:55 p.m. and the women start their 6K race at 8:35 p.m.
In the collegiate races, the Hornets will face Nevada and Sierra Nevada College. The meet will also eight youth/high school races.
"I'm really excited for our team to begin this 2019 season," Sacramento State cross country coach Aaron Braun said. "We've had a lot of men and women working really hard over the summer, and I know they're excited to show off the results of that hard work. They are a close-knit group, and I'm excited to see how that bond will help them during the course of a cross country race."
The men's roster features a pair of seniors in Tristen Thomson and Elijah Changco. Thomson was in the top three finishers on the team in every meet last season, including pacing the Hornets at the UCR Cross Country Invitational. Thomsen had ranked second on the team in four other meets. Changco was limited to just a pair of meets last season. However, as a sophomore in 2017, he led the team in five of six meets.
Other returners for the men are comprised of Abraham Maldonado, Shane Marshall and Santiago Ruiz. All three were fixtures in the lineup last season with Marshall finished third on the team at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational and the NCAA West Regional.
True freshmen Jacob Moran and Xander Reimers are slated to make their collegiate debuts on Friday night. Both had decorated high school careers and qualified for the state championships. Redshirt freshman Zach Blackwood rounds out the roster but is not expected to compete at the Twilight Classic.
Five of the eight members of the Sacramento State women's roster are underclassmen. The lone senior, Emma Armstrong, competed in just one meet last season. The juniors, comprised of Rachel Victor and Cagnei Duncan, should be among the leaders for the team during the season. Victor finished second on the team behind graduated senior Amy Quinones in five of the six meets last season. Duncan was also among the Hornet leaders in her four meets, finishing second on the team in one meet, third in one and fourth in two others.
Rosemary David and Blayney Dolan return for their sophomore seasons after each competed in all six meets a year ago. Ariana Barrett, Marilou Ruiz and Areley Venegas make up the freshman class. Ruiz was a two-time California state qualifier and Venegas has experience at the HOKA ONE ONE Postal Nationals.
Sacramento State will run every other weekend for the remainder of the year. In September, the team will travel to the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 14 before hosting the Capital Cross Challenge on Sept. 28. The Santa Clara Invitational on Oct. 19 is the lone competition in the month of October for the team. November will see the team compete at the Big Sky Championships in Greeley, Colo., on Nov. 2 and at the NCAA West Regional in Pullman, Wash., on Nov. 15.