Johnson, Semancsin, Verhees Earn All-Conference Honors at CCAA Championships
CERES, Calif. — The University of California San Diego men's and women's cross country teams competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships at River Oaks Golf Course on Saturday morning, with the No. 21-ranked men's team finishing fifth and the women's team taking sixth.
Men's junior Aren Johnson (Carlsbad/Army & Navy Academy), and women's seniors Ella Verhees (San Diego/Point Loma HS) and Kristin Semancsin (San Diego/Valhalla HS) each earned All-CCAA honors. Johnson finished 12th overall in the men's 8K race with a time of 24-minutes, 53.2-seconds, while Verhees took 11th place in the women's 6K at 21:38.6 and Semancsin placed 14th at 21:42.1.
“We weren't able to accomplish what we were aiming for, but there were a number of strong individual performances on both sides,” said UC San Diego head coach Nate Garcia. “I'm very proud of our three All-CCAA runners.
“We will get back to work and look to race even better (at regionals) in a couple weeks.”
It is the second-consecutive All-CCAA honor for Johnson after finishing 13th in 2016. Saturday was the second time this season Johnson recorded a top-team finish, as the junior won the University of San Diego Invitational on Sept. 16. In addition, Johnson was the third Triton to cross the finish line at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 23.
Also on the men's side, sophomore Timothy Corvese finished 25th overall after crossing the finish line in 25:38.1. Senior Garrett Lepine was 30th (25:44.8), junior Joseph Benrubi took 31st (25:50.3) and junior Garrett Boulais finished 32nd (25:50.7).
Chico State took first place in the men's 8K competition with 18 points, with Cal Poly Pomona finishing second with 63 points and Cal State San Marcos placing third with 109 points.
Chico State senior Kyle Medina was first overall (24:16.2), while his senior teammate Connor Fisher was second (24:23.4) and CPP senior Ruben Dominguez was third (24:30.8).
Saturday was another outstanding performance for Verhees, who is coming off a first-place finish at the 25th annual Triton Classic on Oct. 7 en route to earning CCAA Runner of the Week honors. On Saturday, the San Diego native was the first Triton to cross the finish line for the fifth-consecutive meet, and has been among the top two Tritons in each of the six meets she has competed in this season.
In addition, Verhees has placed in the top 10 overall in four of six meets, and also garnered a 17th-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational.
Meanwhile, Semancsin earned All-CCAA honors this season after narrowly missing the cut in 2016, when she finished 16th overall. Saturday was Semancsin's fourth top-15 overall finish of 2017, while the senior's second-place team finish was her best since being the first Triton to cross the finish line at the season-opening Lancer Invitational on Sept. 1.
Chico State won the women's team championship with 37 points, with Cal State San Marcos taking second with 78 points and Cal Poly Pomona finishing third with 107 points.
Chico State senior Hannah Dorman (20:52.1) took first overall, followed by Cal State San Marcos senior Natalie Rodriguez (21:06) in second and Cal Poly Pomona senior Lorraine Fernandez (21:09.7) in third.
The Tritons will now prepare for the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 4 in Monmouth, Ore.