By Salina Garcia, Staff Writer
Editors Note: Garcia is a member of the LAHC women’s cross country team and the West Los Angeles College Track and Field Team
After a few decades, men’s cross country has officially returned to LA Harbor College, competing in the Western State Conference.
Athletic Director Dean Dowty and Vice President of Student Services Luis Durado made it official May 11.
“There has been a lot of interest in the community from both men and women from local high schools,” said women’s cross country coach Geoff Skarr. He will also be coach for the men’s team.
Skarr has been coaching for over 20 years,. He brought success to the women’s cross country team in its first year. In the fall of 2016, the women’s cross country team placed runner-up in the Western State Conference and ended up finishing No. 8 in the California Community College Athletic Association.
This past Fall Semester, a new class was added for students interested in running Cross Country. The men enrolled in the class at the same time as the women’s cross country practice at 6:30 a.m. According to Los Angeles Community College District, they understand the agreement between West LA and Harbor because the men who were training at Harbor were representing for West LA College. This allows the student athletes to have a closer program to their home. The men at Harbor that started off slowly growing last fall made a huge impact for the team at West LA, placing runner up in Western State Conference, and placing 13th team in all state CCCAA.
Returning sophomore Alexander Gomez, who trained with Skarr and the other assistant coaches ,was enrolled in the running class given at Fall 2016 in Harbor. Gomez was able to be running for West LA and recently earned 3rd in Western State Conference and MVP for West LA. “I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to represent Harbor’s program that has been shut down for years. It also gives local runners a place to go run and get their education without having to go to further schools to receive both.” The college has received large interest from both men and women from local high schools that will help contribute to a promising 2017 successful season ahead.
Coach Skarr and the assistant coaches, Angie Ibarra, and Mellisa Cortes, plans to train both teams to go beyond Conference and place in the top of State and make sure each student athlete enrolled achieves their education transferring to a 4-year.
June 12 Cross Country will start its Summer Training. For more information contact Geoff Skarr: SkarrGT@lattc.edu