Chico Women’s Cross Country freshmen make incredible debut at first race


Chico State Women’s Cross Country team huddles together to celebrate coming second in race. Photo by Gary Towne.

The Woman’s Cross Country team had a considerable start to their season on Sept. 24 at San Marcos, coming in second out of 17 teams total in their first race of the season. 

The Wildcats’ average time came out to 21:37 minutes, leaving them with a total time of 1:48:08. Their top runners placed fifth, seventh and eighth. Their competitor, the Stanislaus State Warriors , came in first with an average of 21:19 and with a total time of 1:46:39. 

It was an exciting debut of three new freshmen that led Chico State at the San Marcos track meet, leaving an optimistic outlook for the team’s season.  

Freshman Hannah Tiffany missed her true freshman year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and redshirting. However, Tiffany came in at fifth place with a time of 21:22:05. Della Molina followed, coming in seventh place with the time of 21:32:2, and her twin sister Iresh Molina finished just behind her in eighth, with a time of 21:33:3. 

According to Head Coach Gary Towne, the team has been working hard since the end of the season in May, building up their mileage and cardio throughout the summer.

Last season the team lost a significant number of female runners due to COVID-19, leaving them with a lack of experience as a team. However, Towne believes this year they have a great shot at competing this season.

“We’re way more experienced than we were a year ago. Last year we had only six women returning from a roster of 26 that we had pre-COVID,” Towne said. “We’re still young, but we’re in a much better spot now than we were last fall.” 

With the season off to a fresh start, Towne is excited to see how the rest of the team will fall into place. He believes there are many athletes on the team that can rise throughout the season and take the lead. 

“Hannah Tiffany was our top finisher in San Marcos, but I’d expect that any number of 5-6 others could lead the team on a given day,” Towne said. “Before last fall we’d won 12 CCAA titles in a row, and finished in the Top-10 at the NCAA Championships in the past 20 years.” 

Towne is optimistic that the team has the chance of being in the running for these titles as the season unfolds. The turnout of this race put the Wildcats in a great position for a successful year. 

Their next race will take place at Bronco Invitational on Oct. 15, following a stretch of three more races into November, ultimately working toward the Pacific Association Cross Country Championships that will take place in San Francisco on Nov. 20.

Julia Travers can be reached at [email protected]

Hannah Ryan (left) and Marissa D’Atri (right) who were both All CCAA runners in 2021. Photo by Gary Towne.