Photo by: Nick Feller/UCSD Athletics
Freshman McKenna Lewis and the Tritons will compete in the Coyote Challenge this weekend.

A Taste of What's to Come: Tritons Ready for Coyote Challenge on Saturday


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LA JOLLA, Calif. — This weekend, the Tritons get a little taste of what’s to come in the future.

The University of California San Diego cross country teams will compete in the Coyote Challenge hosted by Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday, Sept. 22. The meet begins with the women’s 5K at 8 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at approximately 8:45 a.m.

The course is comprised of a grass loop on the upper and lower field’s east end, which will be spectator friendly. The women will run two big loops, while the men will run one small loop and three big loops.

It will also be the site of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championships on Nov. 3, which allows the Tritons to get a feel for what to expect come postseason time.

“We’re excited to preview the course and have some experience running on it before the conference championships,” said freshman McKenna Lewis, who has posted a pair of 13th-place overall finishes — and top two among Tritons — to begin her college career. “We can get familiar with it now so when the conference meet comes we can run some fast times. That’s the goal.”

UC San Diego has a plan in place to pace itself early in the season, then pick it up more and more as it moves closer to November.

“That’s something I’ve had in the back of my head,” said sophomore Elijah Horwitz, the reigning CCAA Runner of the Week who has finished first among Triton men in each of this season’s first two meets. “It’s nice to have a good start (to the season), but it matters in November and December. That’s when you really have to perform.”

Sometimes pacing yourself now for better results down the line can be easier said than done.

“It’s a little hard to hold back,” said Lewis, “but you know what your long-term goals are and how you’re going to get there.

“You want to focus on pacing so when we really want to go hard in the championship season, we know we’ll be able to do it.”

Before posting fifth and fourth-overall finishes in two meets to begin the season, Horwitz’s said he entered his sophomore year both stronger and leaner with improved endurance.

When the team did a 10-mile time trial during preseason practice, the San Francisco native said his time dropped by over one minute compared to his freshman year.

However, Horwitz said his hot start in 2018 has even surprised himself.

“At first it was sort of a shock,” he said. “I was up there last year, but never finished first (among Tritons).

“Pacing the team in the first couple meets felt like a whole new responsibility. But at the same time, my teammates have been awesome in pushing me and allowing me to get better.”

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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