Benny Cruz, a former standout at Burbank High and Valley College, will attempt to lead Cal State Los Angeles to its first men's title in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. cross-country championships at Cal State Northridge today.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the five-time defending Division II champion, is favored to win its ninth consecutive conference title in the women's race.
Cruz, 22, should run away with the individual title and help his team end Cal Poly SLO's one-year reign atop the CCAA. The Mustangs, the No. 6-ranked team in the Division II poll, struggled early this season. However, Coach Tom Henderson said his squad is eager to defend its title.
"We're ready to run well," Henderson said. "Our training program is designed to peak at the end of the season."
Senior Will James, a Division II All-American in the 1,500 meters for 13th-ranked CSUN, Mike Livingston of Cal Poly SLO and Rob Arsenault of Cal State L. A. should battle for the runner-up position behind Cruz.