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Stanislaus cross country teams look to continue program's success
CSUS womens x country 2
Stanislaus womens runner and former Pitman track standout Aman Hundal (center) is seen in a home meet during the 2013 year. - photo by Photo contributed by Warrior Athletics

In 2013, the California State University, Stanislaus women's cross country team finished second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and took sixth place in the West Region finals.

Last year's success is something to aim for, however, cross country coach Diljeet Taylor graduated seven seniors from her squad in 2013, and now she must find athletes to fill this voids left behind on both the men and women’s teams.

The men finished fifth in the CCAA and did not compete in region after a low finish in conference.

“It was a very good finish last season,” said Taylor. “For women’s outdoor and indoor it was our best finish. Overall, I was very pleased with the performances and the type of student athletes we have and our success was the results of dedication and hard work.”

Last year Rachel Naranjo led the women’s team to the 2013 NCAA West Region Championships at the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex. She was ranked 24th nationally heading into the contest and fourth in the West.

Although they lose a lot of star runners from last year, seniors Aman Hundal and Sara Aguayo are two of the three seniors on the roster who will lead the Warrior women.

Juniors Laticia Joven, Sarah Miranda and Chavariana Ryan should also contribute along with the sophomore Akanji sisters, Mercy and Michelle.

“We lost a lot of seniors but this year we brought in some transfers and freshmen and [we're] getting that team chemistry together right away,” said Taylor. “The emphasis is helping everyone and working hard and getting the miles in.”

The 2013 men's team was young, so they lose only two seniors to graduation and welcome back eight of runners from last season, including five sophomores, not adding transfers.

“Our men are young because 2013 was young, and we're still young,” Taylor said. “We will see what shape they are in in November, but from August to November a lot happens and we'll see what we end up with.”

After such a great season on the track with outdoor and indoor, coach Taylor feels that her team this season should be ready to go when the year rolls around.

“Going forward, these kids left their legacy in the program and raised the bar,” said Taylor. “The new kids coming in know it is possible to be as successful and need to build a foundation so they're now back to build it. We'll see where we go and I’m excited to work and it should be a fun year, but with an emphasis on working hard.”

The team will begin its tough training on Wednesday in Soda Springs up near the Truckee area for a little altitude running.

“I think we’re going to see how the runners mesh together during our camp, but we will see how they work together at practice also,” Taylor said. “We also get to know kids on the team and it's a great way to assess runners and great to run hills as well to get some different terrain training.”

The team's first Invitational is scheduled for Sept. 5 at Fresno State.