New Pasadena City College women's cross country head coach Innocent Egbunike was blessed that he was able to enter his first season with two talented returning runners. Franceska Millanponce, PCC's No. 1 runner last year as the 15th place finisher at the South Coast Conference Championships, and redshirt freshman Ramina Padashi Fard, a strong runner out of Arcadia High, will lead the Lancers in 2016.
At the season-opening 32nd Ventura Invitational held September 2 at Arroyo Verde Park, Padashi Fard placed 10th overall with a time of 23 minutes, 37.6 seconds while Millanponce was 13th (23:59.6) out of 63 individual runners over the 5-kilometer course.
As a team, PCC placed sixth out of seven scoring colleges. Host Ventura won the team race and was led by individual race champion Macy Schmidt (20:45.8).
PCC's incoming freshmen will be a work in progress as first-time college racers included Kandice Kwan (Downtown Magnets HS, Los Angeles, 49th, 30:28.1), Andrea Sigala (Sacred Heart HS, 53rd, 31:22.4), Alyssa Villagracia (John Marshall High, 61st, 35:59.6) and Faviola Aguirre (Alliance Tennenbaum Family Tech, 63rd, 38:05.09).
PCC's cross country teams are also coached by assistant Tyrus DeMinter, a former head coach at Long Beach City College.
[Photo--Franceska Millanponce (far left) and Ramina Padashi Fard (third from left) are PCC women's cross country's top runners going into 2016. They are seen here at the start of the season-opening Ventura Invitational Friday, image by Richard Quinton.]