By Jaime Cárdenas
SWC Interim Sports Information Director
Chula Vista Just what is about the Palomar Invitational that Southwestern College cross country runner Rose Serna enjoys?
It was Déjà Vu. The sophomore from Mission Bay High School finished in first place for a second consecutive year and set a new course record again. She completed the 3.1 mile course of Guajome Park in 19:17, breaking the record she set last year.
“I like the hills,” said Serna, “and I feel I’m good at it.”
Pointing out there is no magic to her dominance of the Palomar Invitational, Serna added that she feels stronger going uphill than when she runs on a flat surface or downhill.
“I just feel like I can do better than most (going up the hills),” she said.
Teammate Yvonne Li finished two spots behind her in third (20:39) to help the women’s team place second overall, four points behind perennial state powerhouse Riverside (33 points).
Not to be outdone, SWC’s Oswaldo Alvarez crossed the finish line in first place on the men’s side in 22:10. The Men, which run 4 miles, also placed second overall behind Riverside.
Alvarez, a freshman, said that the team’s success at the Palomar Invitational should be credited to the teams practice schedule which has the Jaguars running on course with hills most of the time.
“(Finishing in first) was something I was looking forward to accomplish,” said Alvarez. “What made me feel good was making my coach proud.”
Head coach Duro Agbede was proud.
“Every meet brings us close to the conference’s top three finishers in both men and women,” said Agbede. “With it comes a hope to qualify for the regional and possibly state championships. We pray for good health for everyone. The level and intensity of competition is very high in all of Southern California colleges this season, more than anytime I can remember.”