Eagles News
Cross Country - Fri, Dec. 7, 2012
Rocio Pelayo met her goal to win the 2012 GSAC Championship
Rocio Pelayo met her goal to win the 2012 GSAC Championship
 

In head coach Jim Brewer's second season the Concordia cross country teams took a giant step on the national stage, especially the women's squad who spent the entire season ranked in the NAIA Top-25 and finished 11th at the NAIA National Championships, their first trip since 2009.

 

Senior Rocio Pelayo won the GSAC Women's Cross Country Championship and took 11th at Nationals, earning NAIA All-American status. 

"I trained on my own before coming so I could be ready to run," Pelayo said.  "I was not in the best shape when I arrived and missed the preseason training at Mammoth.  From there I just started working really hard to run 17 minutes again.  I knew I wanted to run 17:55 at the GSAC Championships and I was really happy to be able to do that."

On the men's side, senior Rick Avila took second at the GSAC Championships and 30th at Nationals, getting his second-straight NAIA All-American nod.  The women's team took second at the GSAC Championships and the men took sixth.

"This year was great.  With a great atmosphere around this school you compete at a high level all the time," Avila said.  "It was great to represent the school at Nationals and going back to the same location the second year made the biggest difference."

The women's squad recorded four top-2 finishes in 2012 and were ranked as high as ninth in the NAIA.  One thing the ladies had on their side was numbers, as they had a full complement of competitors at every race, something that was not true last season.  They boasted 21 girls to their roster.  Pelayo, who took a year off in 2011, was back in fine form for the Eagles this season.  She finished her career as a four-time All-GSAC selection, becoming the fourth Eagle to be that decorated.  Laura Pluemer and Arielly Conde were also All-GSAC selections in 2012, as they took 8th and 12th at the GSAC Championships.  In her first season after transferring from Biola, Jessica Marquardt had a fantastic season, and missed being All-GSAC by one slot, as she ran the race under the weather.  Pelayo peaked at the perfect time, winning her first race at the GSAC Championships, a testament to her hard work and the knowledge of the CU coaching staff.  The Eagles finished the season #11 in the country, just one spot behind GSAC Champion Biola.  Conde and Pelayo are both graduating seniors, but sophomore Jessica Marquardt and junior Laura Pluemer return to lead the Eagles in 2013.

"I knew we had a special groud of ladies from the start," head coach Jim Brewer said.  "As the season progressed we continued to stick with the training, got closer and closer as a pack, and as Rocio (Pelayo) got better we were able to mix it up with the better teams.  The National Championships was a great experience for our girls, as we return four of our top seven."

2012 NAIA Women's All-Americans

Rick Avila, the lone senior on the men's squad, earned his second NAIA All-American nod in as many years with his 30th place finish at the NAIA Championships in 2012.  He finished second at the GSAC Championships becoming a two-time All-GSAC selection.  Josh Gomez was also an All-GSAC selection after placing seventh at the GSAC Championships.  Avila won the UC Riverside Invitational on September 15, and placed in the top-5 in the Triton Classic hosted by UC San Diego and Cougar Invitational hosted by CSU San Marcos.  The Eagles had three juniors and six underclassmen in 2012 that will use the tutelage of Avila and coach Brewer and his staff as the rebuilding project continues. 

"Josh (Gomez) and Rick (Avila) had great seasons and ran really well," Brewer said.  "Our training staff did an outstanding job keeping them healthy and it really paid off.  I am looking forward to having Josh back next year and for Rick to earn that All-American spot while not being 100% was pretty special."

2012 NAIA Men's All-Americans

 

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