Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
The UC San Diego women's team achieved a first-place finish at Friday's Cougar Challenge.

Women Take 1st and Men Lock Up 3rd in San Marcos

UC San Diego

 SAN MARCOS, Calif. – The University of California San Diego men’s and women’s cross country teams manufactured strong results early Friday morning at the Cougar Challenge, hosted by conference foe Cal State San Marcos. 

The UC San Diego women secured a first-place finish in the 6K, scoring a team total of 49 points, as the men came in third place, yielding a sum of 61 points over the course of an 8K. 

Each program improved performances from their 2019 debuts at the Biola Invite on Sept. 7. 

Friday’s meet exhibited six men’s teams and seven women’s teams. All squads scattered the west coast except for Queens, venturing from North Carolina. This was UC San Diego's first time ever competing in the meet. 

Women’s Recap
After falling just short of Cal State San Marcos in Fullerton last week, UC San Diego collectively snatched it’s first win of the season. Five Tritons finished within the top-15 runners.

Once again, sophomore Madalyne Coney handled business for the blue and gold, placing second overall with a time of 21-minutes, 12.4-seconds.

“I am really, really pleased with the way that this team is competing,” said UC San Diego head coach Nate Garcia. “Maddie Coney ran as close to a perfect race as you will ever see at this point in the season.”

A triplet of freshmen lingered closely behind Coney including Samantha Rocke (10th/21:40.1), Caitlin Billman (11th/21:45.9), and Ashley Faller (12th/21:51.6). 

In addition, senior Camille Perkins crossed the finish line in 14th place (21:56.8). 

“The women behind [Maddie] continued to pack up really well and were rewarded with a win over a strong field,” Garcia added. “While it is still early in the year, this was a big step forward for our group.”

Men’s Recap
Redshirt senior Sam Blake reigned victorious for both the Tritons and overall. Out of 53 participants, Blake advertised a first-place finish by a slim tenth of a second, stamping a time of 24-minutes, 11.0-seconds.

“The men ran well today and locked up a very strong third-place finish,” said Garcia. “Upfront Sam ran an awesome race. He has worked really hard throughout his career, so it was satisfying to see that hard work rewarded with the win.”

Fellow redshirt senior Aren Johnson recorded a time of 24-minutes, 30.0-seconds, proficient for seventh place.

Furthermore, sophomore Brett Beattie and senior Tim Corvese featured back-to-back finishes at 15th (24:56.2) and 16th (24:59.1), respectively.  

“The men were relaxed early and then aggressive late. They worked well together and showed great fire through the crucial final portion of the race,” Garcia said. 

With next weekend off, the Tritons will continue to train hard together before the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento on Sept. 28. 

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 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 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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