Photo by: Cal State San Marcos Athletics
Head Coach Nate Garcia and the cross country teams will travel to Sacramento this weekend.

Back to Business: No. 18 Women and Men (RV) Travel North for Capital Cross Challenge

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. – The University of California San Diego cross country teams will head north this weekend to compete in the Capital Cross Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 27 in Sacramento. Hosted by Sacramento Running Association and Sacramento State, the race will encompass the Haggin Oaks Golf Course. 

In the latest USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) NCAA D-II Poll, the women were ranked No. 18 nationally and No. 6 in the West Region. The men received votes in this week’s poll as well, snagging No. 5 in the regional rankings. 

With a variety of categories participating this weekend, the Men’s College 8K Invite will begin at 9:40 a.m. and the Women’s College 6K Invite is scheduled for 10:40 a.m.

Designed amidst the interior of the golf course, the running route stretches across multiple fairways primarily consisting of grassy terrain.

UC San Diego will gladly get a taste of the landscape for potential opportunities down the road as Haggins Oaks Golf Course will also be the site of the 2019 NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships.

Following not only a weekend off but strong efforts from both the men and women two weeks ago at the Cougar Challenge (Sept. 13), the Tritons look forward to getting back to business. 

“I feel great about [the team's training this past week],” said redshirt senior Aren Johnson. “I can see how we all have put some critical thinking into our race effort at the Cougar Challenge and have been working hard to continue to improve and sharpen ourselves for Capital Cross.”

Far from satisfied, UC San Diego is hungry for more.

“Having the weekend off allowed us to really hit it and get a lot of good work in to ready ourselves for Saturday,” Johnson added. “Hopefully because of this, we will continue to prove to the region and the nation that we are getting stronger and faster and shouldn’t be underestimated.”

The last time the Tritons participated in the Capital Cross Challenge was in 2017. Both programs had placed fourth in the Non-DI standings.

From here on out, “it’s about staying focused on our main goals: making it to nationals and ranking as high as we possibly can in regionals and keeping our ‘why’ in mind,” said sophomore Zoie Valencia

“Whether it’s training or a race, [it’s about] making sure every day we are running for each other or our goals. That’s what has kept us centered coming off our past two major successes.” 

With the 2019-20 school year beginning this past Thursday and a travel trip charted for Friday, UC San Diego will waste no time in exercising it’s scholar-athlete recognition. 

“We have been focusing on staying ahead of the season and academics, looking out for each other and keeping everyone accountable, and learning from every one of our experiences to constantly improve and prepare ourselves for the next challenge,” said Johnson.

As two more regular season races remain, Valencia, Johnson and the rest of the Triton pack hope to continue to leave their mark on the CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association) and Division-II as a whole before the four-year transition into the Big West Conference begins.

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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