BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
The UC San Diego cross country teams saw their season come to a close on Saturday, as neither squad was able to qualify for the NCAA National Championships in Louisville, Ky. on December 4.
The Triton men finished eighth out of 22 teams, while the women placed 14th in a field of 26 at the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships at Lake Padden Park in Bellingham, Wash.
After placing 11h at the CCAA Championships in Whittier two weeks ago, redshirt senior Jesse Morrill had another strong performance on Saturday, finishing 26th overall to lead the way for UCSD. The Huntington Beach native completed the 10-kilometer course with a time of 33:10.7.
Sophomore Matt Lenehan was the next runner to cross the finish line for the Tritons, placing 48th overall at 33:53.8. Lenehan finished one spot in front of teammate Patrick French who wrapped up the race with a final time of 33:54.2. Kellen Levy and Alex Corliss were the final two scorers for UCSD on the day, finishing in 51st and 53rd place, respectively. Levy posted a time of 33:56.4, while Corliss came in at 34:04.6.
Alaska Anchorage won the West Regional title, snapping an eight-year run by Chico State. Led by the performance of individual winner Marko Cheseto (31:20.8), the Seawolves claimed three of the top seven times and finished with 49 points. The Wildcats had two runners finish in the top 10 and finished with 54 points. Both squads will represent the region at the NCAA Championships in two weeks.
Host Western Washington and Western Oregon also earned trips to Louisville after finishing third and fourth, respectively. The Vikings had a total of 93 points, while the Wolves totaled 125.
"Our men put in a real good effort today facing some stiff competition and we're pleased with how they ran," head coach Nate Garcia said. "The teams that ran in front of us ran really well today and if you get beat by someone running really well, you'll take that."
On the women's side, sophomore Catherine Crisp had one of her better performances of the season for UCSD, finishing 52nd overall. She clocked in at 24:41.7 in the 6k to lead the Tritons for the first time this season.
Heather Hisgen posted the next-best finish for UCSD, placing 62nd overall with a final time of 24:49.2, while teammate Aaryn Kobayashi came in at 24:53.7 to claim 66th place. Jackie Sikkema and Kathryn Turner rounded out the scoring for the Tritons, completing the course with respective times of 25:06.2 and 25:11.3. Sikkema's time was good enough for 74th place, while Turner was the 78th fastest runner on the day.
Alaska Anchorage won its second straight regional title on the women's side, claiming three of the top five spots to complete the sweep for the Seawolves. UAA finished with 40 points, 15 in front of second place Chico State. The Wildcats had two finishers in the top 10 to finish in second place for the second year in a row.
Joining the Seawolves and Wildcats at the NCAA Championships will be Western Washington (111 points), Cal Poly Pomona (183), BYU-Hawaii (211) and Western Oregon (248) after finishing third through sixth, respectively. WWU's Sarah Porter was the top individual finisher in the women's race, completing the course with a final time of 21:21.9.
"Our pack work was spectacular on the women's side," Garcia added. "We really stepped up for one another when a couple of folks didn't have their best days. Unfortunately, our pack was a little deeper than it needed to be to have a real impact on the race."
The Triton men moved up one spot after finishing ninth at the West Regional Championships in San Francisco last season, while the women fell seven places following a seventh place finish a year ago.
With 13 of UCSD's 14 participants in Saturday's race scheduled to return in 2011, the future looks very bright for the Triton cross country program.
"Overall we're pleased with the season," Garcia concluded. "We're definitely looking forward to getting back to work with those who are returning and improving our finish at the regional meet next year."