Men’s cross-country looks to rebuild after back-to-back championships

Jessica Maynard and Jessica Maynard

After becoming the first northern California school to win back-to-back state cross-country championships during a 49-year history, the American River College men’s team will be rebuilding.

But after losing two standout runners in Matt Airola and Will Melton, is a three-peat possible?

“Anything is possible,” said Rick Anderson, cross-country head coach. “We’ll be good, but also it’s like any other sport; you can’t control how good the competition is. We’ll make a run at it, we won’t go down without a fight.”

Freshmen Luis Luna, Will Reyes and Jacob Huston will have big shoes to fill next season.  But Anderson is confident that, with strong performances from these three and a good recruiting class, they’ll have a shot at the title.

“We have three good pieces coming back,” said Anderson. “We have several guys that were injured during the year that didn’t show what they could really do.”

Since Anderson took over the team in 1996, the team has won three state championships, 10 conference championships and six NorCal team championships. Anderson made history this season after he won back-to-back championships, becoming the first coach in northern California to do so.

In Anderson’s tenure, there hasn’t been a shortage of success and he looks to continue to compete at this caliber for the next 10 to 12 years.

“You’re not always looking for the best kids, you’re looking for the right kids,” said Anderson.