Despite missing some of their top runners, the College of the Redwoods men’s cross country team showed why it should be a contender to qualify for this year’s state meet over the weekend.
Competing at the early-season NorCal Preview meet at Sierra College, the CR men placed eighth, which would be just one spot out of state qualification.
“On paper, if we’re healthy, we have a good shot at making it to state and No. 1 in conference,” said head coach Reed Elmore, who added, “We have to move up one spot by November.”
The performance was even more impressive considering this was the Corsairs’ first race of the season, while many of the other teams have already competed at a couple of races.
They were also competing without a couple of their top runners, Henry Lamb and Sean Dugdale (injured), while team leader Kyle Byrne was sick.
In their absence, a pair of former Eureka Loggers — Ian Bennett and Thomas Beccanon — picked up the slack with impressive college debuts.
Bennett led the Corsairs with a 29th place finish, while Becannon was next best, crossing the line in 49th.
Ukiah’s Caleb Mucho and Arcadia’s Wyatt Wheetly also had strong showings.
The only CR woman competing was Ukiah’s Desaraie Cox, who is coming off an injury and ran at a slow pace just to get to know the course for the NorCals later in the season.