By Vincent Perez
Assistant Sports Editor
At the Western Athletic Conference Championships, on Oct. 28, CSU Bakersfield senior Angel Valdez led the Roadrunner cross-country team with a 6th place finish in the women’s 5-kilometer race.
She re-set her CSUB 5k record in 17:20 and holds the best finish in CSUB history at conference championships. Last season at WAC Championships, Valdez finished 11th.
In Las Cruces, N.M., the Roadrunners finished sixth out of eight teams, their best combined score (171) in championship history. New Mexico State (47) finished first overall.
Valdez described how the 5k WAC Championship race began, “We went fast with the front runners. It was a fast first mile. It’s what I had to do to beat that top pack of girls.” She said that she didn’t think about her time until she reached the finish line.
Valdez’s goal in the upcoming NCCA Division I Regional is to re-set her 6k record this season. “There’s going to be a lot of fast girls. Even faster than conference. I love running against girls who are competitive. It pushes you,” said Valdez.
Valdez said that she would rather race competitive girls than win a race by 40 seconds.
“I’d be happier getting 50th in a large race.”
She said about the season so far, “It’s mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting.” However, she added, “I’m starting to feel better.”
Valdez is grooming future leaders on the team, who will lead the team when she leaves after this season.
Paradise Pelzer, a sophomore, finished 39th overall and second for CSUB in the 5k in 18:59, CSUB’s now second-best record time at conference championships. Pelzer improved her time from last season’s conference championship (20:06.9).
“I didn’t set my personal best like my peers did, but I did run one of the second-best times and I definitely gave it a go,” said Pelzer.
Pelzer is looking forward to NCAA Division I Regionals. “I’m super happy I have another race to go because I want to [set my personal record].”
She added, “At the 6k [last season], I barely broke 22. I want to get well into the 21’s.” She is looking toward the future as well.
Pelzer said, “It gives me hope for the following seasons. I’ve never thought I’d be this close to where Angel was just a year ago.” She added that Valdez did very well in her career, so she thinks she can do the same and break CSUB cross-country records.
“It makes me happy to know that I will probably, eventually get to where she is, maybe faster,” said Pelzer.
“I’m not going to do it because Angel’s there, I’m going to do it because I want to be a good runner and a leader for CSUB athletics.” Pelzer will help lead her teammates and prepare for future seasons.
Redshirt-freshman Alejandra Frausto said about her first conference championship race, “It was a good experience. A lot of girls ran really well. We had good outcome. New Mexico was a little different elevation. Nothing too serious where it affected our time.” She added that the course was fantastic for running because the race was on a golf course.
In Las Cruces, Frausto finished 42nd overall, in 19:04, and third for CSUB.
Frausto is 10th all-time in Roadrunner 5k history. Other Roadrunners participated in the 5k.
Freshman Allyssa Diaz, finished 50th in 19:43, sophomore Genesis Medina finished 52nd in 21:04 and junior Heather Segrest was 55th with a time of 22:35.
The NCAA West Regional is Friday, Nov. 10, in Seattle, Wash. at 10:30 a.m.