LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The UC San Diego cross country teams defended their home course on Saturday, capturing a pair of team titles at the 19th Annual Triton Classic Invitational on the UCSD Cross Country Course.
UCSD was absolutely dominant on the women's side, placing six runners in the top 15 en route to a commanding 82 point victory, while the Triton men had all five scorers finish in the top 10 to clip second place Central Arizona by 10 points in the final standings.
Head coach Nate Garcia, who will now send his team to Santa Rosa for the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in two weeks, was pleased with his team's performance in their final home appearance of the season.
"We set out this morning to try to get a couple of victories," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough with a couple of really talented squads here, but our folks stepped up. They really went out there and challenged themselves and came away with a good result."
Sophomore Chia Chang has been challenging herself all season and Saturday proved to be no different as the Yorba Linda native paced the Triton women for the fourth time in five races this year. She clocked in at 22:17.5 on the Triton 6k course, finishing third overall. Freshman Michelle Le Roux, who is quickly becoming an emerging star for UCSD, finished right behind her with a fourth place time of 22:18.9.
"We're really excited about seeing Michelle make that step up," Garcia said of the Triton's 1-2 punch. "Closing down that gap to Chia is going to make a huge difference for us moving forward and it makes both of them better. We're really pleased to see that happen."
Freshman Dani Brabender was the third Triton to cross the finish line, clocking in at 23:17.9 to claim 10th place overall. Senior Aaryn Kobayashi was 12th at 23.29.2, while sophomore Ximena Cruz finished in 23:37.7 to earn 14th place and round out the scoring for UCSD.
The Tritons finished with a total of 38 points on the day, easily outdistancing second place Central Arizona, which had 120. San Diego State was third with 124 points, while Cal State L.A. tallied 138 to take fourth and Cal State San Bernardino finished fifth with 139.
On the men's side, it was another familiar face leading the way as well, as junior Matt Lenehan came on strong over the final three miles to finish second overall behind Cal Poly Pomona's Ryan Carrell. Lenehan posted a 10k time of 32:49.6 to pace the Tritons for the second consecutive race and third time overall in 2011. Carrell clocked in at 32:44.9.
"Matt ran a great race today," Garcia continued. "He stepped outside himself and really challenged one of the better runners in the conference so that was definitely good to see."
Behind Lenehan, UCSD had four consecutive runners cross the finish line, claiming seventh through 10th place. Senior Alex Corliss was the first of that group with a final time of 33:13.7, followed closely by senior John Svet (33:23.0) and sophomores Ben Rich (33:28.5) and Kellen Levy (33:39.0).
With five of the top 10 times, the Triton men earned 36 points on the day, while Central Arizona finished second with 46. Cal Poly Pomona tallied 69 for third place, followed by Fort Lewis (116), Cal State Monterey Bay (124) and Western New Mexico (155).
The 2011 CCAA Championships are slated for Saturday, October 22 at Spring Lakes Regional Park in Santa Rosa. The women's 6k race is scheduled for 8:00 a.m., with the men's 8k following at 9:00.