The top six finishers are rewarded with All-American status, something Ochoa also garnered with her fourth-place finish of 40:10.14, not far behind third-place Jaasmin Pina (40:02.04), a freshman from Mt. SAC.
“We had an excellent day,” GCC Coach Eddie Lopez said. “We were shooting for All-Americans.”
Both improved on their finishes at the Southern California Championships, as Rosas took third and Ochoa was seventh.
With their results, Rosas and Ochoa notched 13 points, putting the Vaqueros in third place currently behind Riverside (19) and Mt. SAC (18) after the two-day championships’ first three events.
The women’s team has five individuals and a relay squad set to compete in seven races today.
Rosas will be back taking part in the 5,000.
“I’m glad I ran [Friday],” she said. “I get the feeling of what it’s like to race with the wind.”
The desert winds were a significant factor in Friday’s run.
“It was more a tactical race,” Lopez said. “You feel like taking off, but you pay the price.”
Rosas said much of the race saw individuals fearful of taking the lead, worried that they would do the work, while the others drafted off them and saved themselves for a later kick.
“You could tell no one wanted to take the lead. It was pretty packed. ... Because of the wind conditions, everyone was afraid, afraid of dying [at the end],” Rosas said. “I’m happy, but I do regret not going sooner.”
Lopez disagreed, saying that would have been a disaster.
“I thought she ran a good race, a smart race,” he said. “You have to be very patient.”
And for the most part, that’s what Rosas and Ochoa did, tucking back behind frontrunners and letting them take the wind head-on, before making their move with roughly six laps to go.
Rosas is set to run in the 5,000 today at 5:20 p.m.
“It’s a tough double. ... We’ll see how the body reacts,” Lopez said. “There’s so many variables.”
As for his women’s team as a whole, the goal is for a top-three finish.
“I’m pleased [with Friday’s results],” Lopez said, “but we gotta maintain the momentum.”
Get in touch GRANT GORDON is the sports editor. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.