1140 W. Mission Rd.
 San Marcos, CA 92069
 (760) 744-1150 X 2460
 FAX (760) 761-3512
 Athletic Director:
 Scott Cathcart



Cross Country


2013 season ...

PCAC Co-Champions

ABOVE: Aholibama Velazquez (274) and Bethany Gracia (269) lead Palomar's women at Saturday's state meet at Wooward Park in Fresno. BELOW: Gerry Alvarez leads Palomar runners in the men's race. -- Photos by Hugh Gerhardt

Comets 16th of 27 teams in women's state meet

FRESNO (11-23-2013) -- Palomar's women's team ran to a 16th-place finish in a 27-team field and the men's team was 24th out of 27 teams in the CCCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Woodward Park.

Aholibama Velazquez was Palomar's top finisher in the women's race. She ran 5,000 meters in 19:18.9 to place 28th out of 207 runners.

Bethany Gracia was 49th in 19:34.78 and Ashley Espinoza finished 53rd in 19:40.15.

East Los Angeles' Laura Aceves (17:42.08) and College of the Sequoias' Yesenia Silva (17:45.72) was runner-up in 17:45.72.

Orange Coast outdistanced second-place Glendale 73-126 to win the team championship. Palomar scored 408 points.

In the men's race, Gerry Alverez was the first Palomar finisher, running 4.0 miles  in 21:56.42 to finish in 97th place out of 203 runners.

Travis Robey was the Comets' second finisher in 121st with a 22:22.02. Sergio Vazquez ran 22:34.87 and was the third Palomar finisher. He took 135th place.

American River, the team champion, had 72 points to 93 for Orange Coast in second place. The Comets had 587 points.

ABOVE: Bethany Gracia (235) is off and running for Palomar's women's cross country team in the Southern California Championships on Friday. Gracia was the first PC finisher. -- Photo by Hugh Gernardt. BELOW: Gerry Alvarez, the Comets' first men's finisher

PC women's, men's teams qualify for state

SANTA CLARITA (11-08-2013) -- Palomar's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference womem's cross country champions placed 12th out of 27 teams in the Southern California Regionals on Friday. The men's team placed 15th out of 28 teams.

Both qualified for the CCCAA State Championships on Nov. 23 at Woodwad Park in Fresno.

The women's squad, competing without its No. 3 runner, scored 315 points with Bethany Gracia, the Comets' No. 1, taking 16th place in 19:35.5 in the 200-woman field over a 5,000-meter course at Santa Clarita's Central Park.

Palomar's first men's finisher was Gerardo Alvarez (right), who ran 4.0 miles in 22:23.6 as he finished 51st out of 199 runners.

Laura Aceves from East Los Angeles won the women's race with an 18:35.9, defeating runner-up Grace hanashaw from San Diego Mesa who was second in 18:39.1. Orange Coast won the team championship with 58 points, with Glendale (140) placing second, Mt. SAC (161) third, Los Angeles Trade Tech (166) fourth and Fullerton (218) fitfth.

San Diego Mesa, the team the Comets tied for the conference championship, was the top PCAC team finisher in sixth place, scoring 230 points. Palomar was second among conference teams with its 12th-place performance, Cuyamaca (477 points) in 21st  place and San Diego City College (801 points) in 27th.

The Comets' Aholima Velazquez ran 19:47.7 to finish in 20th place in the race. Ashley Espsinoza ran a 20:10.9 to take 29th place. Aleiha Nelson ran a 20:00 for Palomar to finish 130th. Jessica Steinhoff came in138th with a 22:10.4.

The men's winner was San Bernardino Valley's Omar Caro, who ran the 4.0 miles in 20:44.2. Santa Barbara City College'sIan Roberts was second in 20:55.6, edging third-place Steven Martinez from Mesa ran a 20:55.9.

Palomar's other scorers behind Alvarez were Travis Robey (65th in 22:37.9), Matt Bellah (84th in 22:57.0), Sergio Vazquez (94th in 23:06.9) and Jonathan Larson (95th in 23:08.7).

Palomar women's team is PCAC co-champion

VALLEY CENTER (11-05-2013) -- Palomar and San Diego Mesa were officially declared Pacific Coast Athletic Conference co-champions in women's cross country on Tuesday afternoon by conference commissioner John Woods.

Palomar had challenged a ruling at the site of the meet that Mesa had won a tie-breaker for the title after the two teams tied for first place with 36 points each. That ruling was vacated by Woods' decision.

ABOVE: Aholbama Velasquez (No. 587), on her way to a third-place in the conference championship women's race. BELOW LEFT: Palomar's men's team, at left, start next to Cuyamaca. -- Photos by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW RIGHT: Jon Larson, Palomar's first finisher in the men's race

PC women lose tiebreaker, protest meet result

SAN DIEGO (11-01-2013) (11-02-2013) -- The actual winner of Friday's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's 2013 women's cross country championships at Mission Bay Park  remained up in the air late Saturday night.

This came after after Palomar filed a protest of a controversial decision that handed first place to San Diego Mesa after the two teams tied with 36 points apiece.

Palomar's protest that the wrong tiebreaker was used cited Rule .02  D of the conference's cross country supplement: "Ties: In the case of a tie, the tie will be broken by the sixth runner." In this case, that would be the Comets.

Cuyamaca (57 points), San Diego City College (118), Imperial Valley (126) and Grossmont (159) trailed the two leaders. Mesa's Grace Hanshaw won the 3.1-mile race in 19:13.

Palomar finished third in individual results (Aholbama Velasquez, with a 20:33), fourth (Bethany Gracia 20:44), seventh (Micaelina Sarmiento 21:17), ninth (Ashley Espinoza 21:39) and 13th (Aleiha Nelson 22:21) in scoring its 36 points. Jessica Steinhoff placed 16th and Jesse Newman was 21st.

In the men's 4.0-mile race, the Comets finished fourth out of five teams with 106 points. Mesa won the championship with 35 points, followed by Southwestern with 40 points and Cuyamaca with 51. San Diego City (127 points) trailed Palomar in fifth.

Mesa's Steven Martinez won the race in 21:06. Palomar's scorers were Jon Larson (17th place in 22;41), Gerry Alvarez (18th 22:42), Travis Robey (23rd 23:12), Matt Bellah (26th 23:21) and Sergio Vazquez (27th 23:23). Leo Alcar was 28th and Sean Pruitt finished 32nd.

ABOVE: Gerry Alvarez (145), Palomar's top finisher in a field of 165 runners, battles four-year college opponents in the Cougar Invitational on Saturday at Cal State San Marcos. He ran the 8,000-meter course in 27:31, placing 25th. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW LEFT: Bethany Gracia, who was the Comets' top women's finisher in 13th place in a 155-runner field. Gracia ran 5,000 meters in 19:12. She was 32nd in the overall field (including unattached entries). BELOW RIGHT:Former Comet Kate Bouvatte, who is now the No. 1 runner for Cal State San Marcos. Bouvatte ran 17:30 to win the individual championship in the women's race, which had 155 runners.

Ex-Comet wins women's race at Cougar Invite

SAN MARCOS (10-11-2013) -- The Palomar women's and men's cross country teams again held their own against four-year college competition in the Cougar Challenge on Saturday across the California 78 freeway at Cal State San Marcos.

Meanwhile, a former Comet stole the show. Kate Bouvatte held off three-time NAIA All-American Kelly Thompson to win the 5,000-meter women's race in 17:30. Thompson, a former CSUSM runner, ran 17:32 in taking second.

Bouvatte led the Cougars, who scored 19 points, to the team championship in the race.

The women's team scored 114 points to place fifth out of eight teams, led by Bethany Gracia. Gracia ran 19:12 for 5,000 meters, taking 13th place (29th overall among 155 runners, including unattached entries).

Cal State San Marcos won the women's meet with 19 points.

Ashley Espinoza was Palomar's second finisher, running 19:19 to wind up 15th in the field of attached runners (32nd in the entire field). Micaelina Sarmiento ran 20:22 as she was 21st (48th in the entire field), with Jessica Steinhoff 29th and Aleiha Nelson 36th to round out the Comets' scorers.

The Palomar men were fifth out of nine teams with 157 points, with Cal State San Marcos scoring 27 points to placed first out of nine teams. Gerry Alvarez, the Comets' No. 1 man, finished 25th with a 27:31 for 8,000 meters and Cody-Ray Wilson took 27th with a 27:57.

Alvarez was 52nd overall in a 165-runner field, including the unattached entries. Wilson was 56th.

Rounding out Palomar's scorers: Jonathan Larson (33rd in the attached field), Sergio Vazquez (31st) and Travis Robey (35th).

ABOVE: Palomar's women's team (white jerseys) is off and running in the Brubaker Invitational on Friday at Irvine Regional Park. The Comets finished second out of 10 teams. SECOND FROM TOP: Gerry Alvarez, Palomar's top finisher in the race, hits the 3-mile mark. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW LEFT: Bethany Gracia, who was the Comets' first women's finisher in fourth place. BELOW RIGHT: Cody-Ray Wilson, who placed second for the men's team in 35th place, 5 seconds behind Alvarez, as the Comets ran as a pack and placed their first six runners within 21 seconds of each other

Palomar runs to second place at Irvine meet

ORANGE (10-11-2013) -- Led again by Bethany Grarcia, who finished fourth, Palomar's women's cross country team ran to a second-place finish in the Brubaker Invitational on Friday at Irvine Regional Park.

Gracia ran the 5,000-meter course in 19:34 in a race won by Riverside City College's Marrissa Jimenez in 19:23. Gracia's Palomar teammaste Alolibama Velaszquez, finished eighth in 19:50. Ashley Espinoza was 10th with a 19:59.

Also for Palomar, Micaelina Sarmiento was 21st in 20:54, Alei Nelson 28th in 21:13, Jessica Steinhoff 29th in 12:13 and Maria Linares 50th in 23:01.

Fullerton edged the Comets 60-65 for the team championship. Riverside City College was third with 82 points. Grossmont, the only other Pacific Coast Athletic Conference team in the race, finished eighth out of 10 teams with 243 points.

Palomar's men's team placed fifth out of nine teams with 160 points. Gerry Alvarez, the first Comet to cross the finish line, clocked a 22:07 over 4.0 miles for 32nd place as Palomar ran as a pack and placed six runners within 21 seconds of each other.

Alvarez was followed by Cody-Ray Wilson (22;12) finished 35th, Jonathan Larsen (22:18) finished 39th, Sergio Vazquez (22:19) finished 40th, Matthew Bellah (22:28) finished 43rd and Travis Robey (also 22:48) was 44th.

San Bernardino Valley, which was fifth in last year's state meet and has won five of the last seven state team titles, won the men's meet with 18  points to 61 for second-place Southwestern and 81 for third-place El Camino.

The Wolverines' Omar Caro won the men's race in 20:09.

ABOVE: Palomar's Bethany Gracia (151) leads two Orange Coast runners in the San Diego Cross Country Invitational on Friday at Mission Bay Park. Gracia was the Comets' top finisher in the women's race in ninth place in a field of 87 runners. MIDDLE: Travis Robey (left) and Matt Bellah battle it out in the men's race. Robey placed fifth for Palomar in 35th place, while Bellah took sixth for the Comerts in 51st. -- Photos by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW: Ivan Aquiahuati, Palomar's top finisher in the men's race. He placed sixth out of 100 runners.

Palomar holds its own in SD Invitational meet

SAN DIEGO (10-05-2013) -- Palomar's women's and men's cross country teams held their own in the San Diego Cross Country Invitational, hosted by San Diego Mesa on Saturday at Mission Bay Park.

The Comet women placed fourth out of 11 teams, scoring 88 points. Orange Coast won the meet with 22 points, while host Mesa finished second.

Bethany Gracia ran the 5,000-meter course in 20:18.70 and was the top Palomar finisher in ninth place. East Los Angeles' Laura Aceves was the individual winner in 18:57.30.

Rounding out the Comets' top five finishers in therace were Ashley Espinoza (14th in 20:49.90), Ahulibama Velazquez (16th in 20:58.70), Micaelina Sarmiento (19th) and Aleiha Nelson (30th).

Led by Ivan Aquiahuati, a freshman from Rancho Buena Vista High School who finished sixth out of 100 runners in  21:24.00 over 4.0 miles, Palomar brought home a fifth-place finish in the ment's meet out of nine teams with 146 points. Orange Coast scored 38 points to outdistance runner-up Mesa for the team title. Steven Martinez of Mesa won the individual championship in 20:53.90.

Rounding out Palomar's top five were Jonathan Larson (32nd in 22:36.50), Travis Robey (35th), Cody-Ray wilson (41st) and Gerardo Alvarez (48th).

PC 6th behind Arkansas, USC, SDSU, 2 more

SAN DIEGO (9-21-2013) -- Palomar's women's team took a huge step up in class at the 69th Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State University on Saturday at Balboa Park, and the Comets held their own.

The University of Arkansas placed 1-through-7 in the women's division to win with a perfect 15 points, followed in the top six by Biola University (64 points), USC (76 points), San Diego State (87), Point Loma Nazarene (164) and the Comets (174). Palomar defeated four other teams in an 11-college field.

Bethany Gracia ran a personal best 20:18 on the 5-kilometer course to place 28th. The winner, Arkansas' Dominique Scott, clocked a 17:33. Rounding out the Comets' first five finishers, Mica Sarmiento ran a 20:52 to place 39th, Ashley Espinoza (left, courtesy photo) was 41st in 10:08 and Aholibama Velazquez ran a 21:15 in finishing 43rd.

In the men's race, the Comets placed third out of four teams. Biola won with 20 points. Cuyamaca was second with 35 points, Palomar third with 71 points and Holy Names University was fourth with 100 points.

The Comets' Sergio Vasquez ran the 8-kilometer course in 28:39 to take 12th place. Rounding out the Comets' top five fiishers were Jonathan Larsen (13th in 28:46), Travis Robey (16th in 29:22), Matthew Bellah (17th in 29:25) and Sean Pruitt (18th in 29:34).

ABOVE: Bethany Gracia gets off to a strong start for Palomar's women's team in Friday's Southern California Preview Meet. She was the Comets' top finisher. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt. MIDDLE PHOTO: Jonathan Larson, the Comets' first finisher in the regular men's race, rambles down a hill. -- Photos by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW LEFT: Matthew Bellah,who ran the best time of the day for the men's team, in the overflow race

Gracia's 28th out of 199 runners leads Comets

SANTA CLARITA (9-13-2013) -- Bethany Gracia (left) led the Palomar cross country team in the Southern California Community College Preview meet on Friday on a 3.1-mile course at Santa Clarita's Central Park, running a 20:45.97 to finish 28th in the women's race in a 199-runner field.

Micaelina Sarminto was the Comets' second finishER, placing 44th in 21:07.13.

Orange Coast's Karen Silvas ran a 19:10.83 to win the race and the Pirates captured the team championship with 40 points. Palomar had 310 place, good for 11th place in a 30-team field.

Matthew Bellah, running in the overflow race, had the Comets' fastest men's time of the day, a 23:15.40 for 4.0 miles which netted him an eighth-place finish. The time would had given Bellah 62nd place among 192 runners in the regular race. Sergio Vazquez took ninth in the overflow race in 23:15.64, which would have put him 63rd in the regular race.

Jonathan Larson, the Comets' top finisher in the regular race, ran a 24:15.26 to place 99th. Noah Siegal was 101st in 24:18.11.

The regular race winner, American River's Will Reyes, ran a 20:45.46 to win the individual title. The Beavers outdistanced second-place Cerritos 19-95 to easily win the team championship. Palomar took 21st place out of 30 teams.

The Comets scored 129 points in the men's overflow race, placing sixth. American River won the overflow race with 19 points.

Palomar's first women's overflow finisher, Aholibama Velazquez, was eighth in 21:44.22. The Comets' did not have enough entries for a team score.

ABOVE: Palomar's Ashley Espinoza reaches the 2-mile mark in the Palomar Invitational women's race on Friday at Guajome Regional Park on the Oceanside-Vista border. BELOW: The Comets' Kyle Ryan is ahead of two opponents in the men's race, also at the 2-mile mark. -- Photos by Hugh Gerhardt

Comets place 3rd in women's race, 4th in men's

OCEANSIDE / VISTA (9-06-2013) --  Palomar's women's and men's cross country teams both opened their 2013 seasons on Friday afternoon at Guajome Regional Park, with similar results.

The women finished third in a 10-team field. The men's team placed fourth out of eight teams.

Fullerton won the women's race with 52 points, followed by Riverside City College (66 points) in second and the host Comets (83 points) in third. Santa Ana (114), Cuyamaca (124), Citrus (141), San Bernardino Valley (157), Imperial Valley (226), Victor Valley (232) and San Diego City College (258) trailed.

Palomar's women got a sixth-place finishamong 98 runners from Mica Sarmiento, a sophomore from Escondido High School, in 20:33 over a 3.1-mile course that runsh parts of both Oceanside and Vista.

Also for the Comets, Beth Gracia placed 11th in 21:06, Ashley Espinoza 13th in 21:18,  Jessica Steinhoff  29th in 22;29 and Aleiha Nelson 34th with a 22;40. Maegan Garritson of Fullerton won the race in 20:10.

In the men's race, Cerritos won with 28 points, followed by Cuyamaca (53), Riverside City College (59), Palomar (115), Santa Ana (155), Fullerton (169), Citrus (181) and Victor Valley (219).

For the Comets, Matthew Bellah placed 18th in an 82-runner field, running a 4.0-mile course  in 23;06. Sergio Vazquez was 20th in 23;08, Travis Robey 24th in 23:25, Jonathan Larson 35th in 24:11 and Sean Pruitt 40th in 24:33. The winner, Anthony Lozano from Cerritos, finished with a 21:23.

2013 Men's Roster

Name Yr High School
Leonardo Alcarez Fr Vista (Vista, CA)
Gerardo Alvarez So Escondido (Escondido, CA)
Ivan Aquiahuati Fr Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, CA)
Mastthew Bellah Fr Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, CA)
Robert DeHoyos Fr St. John (Reserve, LA)
Jonathan Larson So Valley Center (Valley Center, CA)
Sean Pruitt Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad, CA)
Daniel Rivera So Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, CA)
Travis Robey Fr Valley Center (Valley Center, CA)
Kyle Ryan So Valley Center (Valley Center, CA)
Noah Siegel Fr San Dieguito Academy (Encinitas, CA)
Sergio Vazquez Fr San Pasqual (Escondido, CA)
Cody Wilson Fr Vista (Vista, CA)
Diego Zamora Mendoza Fr Oceanside (Oceanside, CA)

2013 Women's Roster

Name Yr High School / Previous College
Ashley Espinosa Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad, CA) / San Francisco State University
Bethany Gracia Fr Fortura Union (Fortura, CA) / Long Beach State University
Maria Linares Fr Colegio Isaac Rabin (Canal Zone, Panama) / University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines)
Aleiha Nelson So Buena (Sierra Vista, AZ)
Jesse Newman Fr San Marcos (San Marcos, CA)
Macaelina Sarmiento So Escondido (Escondido, CA)
Sydney Sniff Fr Great Oak (Temecula, CA)
Jessica Steinoff Fr Fallbrook (Fallbrook, CA)
Sharlyna Vu Fr Vista (Vista, CA)
Aholibama Velazquez So Valley Center (Valley Center, CA)

2013 Schedule, Results

Date Event Site Time / Result
Fri Sept 6 Palomar Invitational Guajome Park (Oceanside/Vista) MEN 4th of 8 teams
WOMEN 3rd of 10 teams
Fri Sept 13 Southern Cal Preview Meet hosted by College of the Canyons Central Park (Santa Clarita) MEN 21st of 30 teams
WOMEN 11th of 30 teams
Sat Sept 21 69th Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State University Balboa Park (San Diego) MEN 3rd of 4 teams WOMEN 6th OF 11 teams
Fri Oct 4 San Diego Cross Country Invitational Mission Bay Park (San Diego) MEN 5th of 9 teams WOMEN 4th of 11 teams
Fri Oct 11 Brubaker Invitational hosted by Santa Ana College Irvine Regional Park (Orange) MEN 5th of 9 teams WOMEN 2nd of 10 teams
Sat Oct 19 Cougar Challenge Cal State San Marcos MEN 5th of 9 teams WOMEN 5th of 8 teams
Fri Nov 1 PCAC Championships hosted by San Diego Mesa College Mission Bay Park (San Diego) MEN 4th of 5 teams
WOMEN tie for 1st of 9 teams
Fri Nov 8 Southern California Communty College Regionals hosted by College of the Canyons Central Park (Santa Clarita) WOMEN 12th of 27 teams MEN 15th of 28 teams
Fri Nov. 23 CCCAA State Championships Woodward Park (Fresno) WOMEN 16th of 27 teams MEN 24th of 27 teams

Home meet listed in bold



Santa Ana Community College
San Diego State Univ.
San Francisco State Univ.
Contact: (jwilliams3@palomar.edu)


HUGH GERHARDT, Head Men's Coach

Hugh Gerhardt
Foothill Community College
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo State Univ.
Contact: (hgerhardt@palomar.edu)



Gerry Alvarez Ashley Espinosa I. Aquiahuati Bethany Gracia Matthew Bellah
Aleiha Nelson Jonathan Larson Jesse Newman Sean Pruitt M. Sarmiento
Daniel Rivera Sydney Sniff Travis Robey Jessica Steinoff Kyle Ryan
Sharlyna Vu Noah Siegel A. Velasquez Sergio Vazquez Cody Wilson
Photos by Melinda Finn
Diego Zamora Robert DeHoyos      


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