Men’s cross country faces challenge from Lake County for Skyway supremacy

Morton College and Lake County, the two heavyweights in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, figure to slug it out for the men’s cross country title Saturday, October 26, at Moraine Valley.

Both teams are nationally ranked in the latest NJCAA Division I poll with two-time defending Skyway champion Morton College at 21 and Lake County, 24. They’ve met once before with Lake County finishing ahead of the Panthers by five points at the College of DuPage Invitational September 27.

Lake County’s Roberto Lara figures to give defending Skyway champion Alan Guzman of Morton College a run for his money for individual honors.

“This is one of the three biggest races of the season,” Morton College coach Gus Coronado said. “We’re looking forward to having our team at full strength.”

Coronado says the key to a Morton College “three-peat” rests on Guzman and Eric Diaz placing as high as possible. Guzman turned in a solid performance at the Benedictine University Invitational October 11, placing 24th overall with a time of 26:37 for 8-kilometers.

“The lower the number our front guys post, it will ease some of the pressure off the back guys,” Coronado said. “I expect Alan to be very competitive. Eric is catching up to Alan. Running with Alan has made Eric a much better runner.”

Coronado is looking for Ivan de la Rosa, Jesus Medina, Victor Solis and Arvin Servin to contribute.

“The guys just need to relax,” Coronado said. “We’ll run against our own level at this race and we’ll see where we’re at. We’ve had some great workouts and I’m confidence we’ll be ready for next week.”

On the women’s side, Coronado is shooting for a third-place finish. He’s hoping to land at least two runners on the 10-member all-conference team.

“Most of the team didn’t have a lot of cross country experience coming into the year,” said Coronado, who likes the way Veronica Tovar is progressing.