The University of California San Diego men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships this Saturday, Oct. 21 at River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres. The women's 6K competition is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., followed by the men's 8K at 10 a.m.
Site: River Oaks Golf Course
Terrain: 95-percent grass with a small portion of dirt and a 30-yard asphalt section. The course will be 2K loops.
The UC San Diego men's team is currently ranked No. 21 in the nation and No. 6 in the West Region in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) poll. The women's team is receiving votes in the national poll and is ranked No. 7 in the West Region. To view the full rankings, click here.
The field is comprised of CCAA members, with both the men's and women's fields featuring three top-25 teams. The men's side is highlighted by No. 4 Chico State, No. 5 Cal Poly Pomona and No. 21 UC San Diego, while the women's field features No. 6 Chico State, No. 12 Cal State San Marcos, No. 20 Cal Poly Pomona and No. RV UC San Diego.
The UC San Diego men's team took third place in the 2016 CCAA Championships. Tareq Alwafai (24:40.3) placed third, which was the best finish for a Triton since James Nielsen finished first in 1999. Brendan Gee (8th/24:51.1) and Aren Johnson (13th/25:07.11) joined Alwafai on the All-CCAA team. The men's team's best CCAA finish was a second-place performance in 2008. The Triton women placed fourth at the 2016 CCAA Championships, led by Karina Carstens' All-CCAA effort (15th/22:21.3) for the second consecutive season. Carstens also took home CCAA Freshman of the Year honors in 2015. The women's team won the championship in 2005, and finished second in both 2009 and 2015.
HEAD COACH NATE GARCIA
Former Triton student-athlete Nate Garcia is in his 11th season as head coach of the UC San Diego cross country program. He took over the reins in 2007 after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. Garcia was a four-year letterwinner in cross country and track at UC San Diego from 1996-2000. He earned numerous athletic and academic honors, including All-Academic District VIII and CCAA All-Academic accolades in 2000-01.
This season's UC San Diego rosters feature several student-athletes from San Diego County. The local women include junior Alexandra Hernandez (El Cajon/Granite Hills HS), junior Christa Kloha (San Diego/Westview HS), freshman Laura Moran (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), senior Kristin Semancsin (San Diego/Valhalla HS) and senior Ella Verhees (San Diego/Point Loma HS). The men's list includes senior Nick Famolaro (San Diego/West Hills HS), junior Aren Johnson (San Diego/Army & Navy Academy), freshman Jake Selstad (San Marcos/San Marcos HS) and sophomore Burak Tufekci (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS).
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The Tritons will have a week off before competing at the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Monmouth, Ore., for a shot to advance to the NCAA Championships.