Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
The cross country seniors await their final Triton Classic.

UC San Diego to Host 27th Annual Triton Classic

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. —It will be continued history in the making this weekend for University of California San Diego and the cross country community. 

The UC San Diego men's and women's cross country teams will host the 27th annual Triton Classic on Saturday, Oct. 12. The women’s 6K is scheduled for 8 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K beginning at 9 a.m.

Established primarily through the university's Eucalyptus Grove, the course is quite exclusive for all participants. The race will start on the North Campus Athletic Fields and finish on the Triton Track. However, runners are in for a treat with the trail in between. 

"It's a bit of a throwback course - a style of course that was more popular a couple decades ago," said UC San Diego Head Coach Nate Garcia. "We've got a lot of great teams coming in who want to embrace the challenge. I know our team is really excited to get out there and flex their muscles on their home course. It should be a lot of fun."

A combination of grass and dirt terrain with occasional sidewalk crossings, hills and potential encounters with wildlife, the route is one of the most unique within the conference and region. 

It will be the last time five Triton seniors undergo the complexity of their home turf.

"I've ran this course so many times and I really like it. It's really challenging but fun at the same time," said senior Camille Perkins. "I'm excited to run it one more time and give it my best shot."

"It's bittersweet - the season is almost over, it's my last year, last time with the boys. I'm scared and excited," senior Julian Romero added. 

The Triton Classic is the only home event held in La Jolla, Calif. and a significant contest for all teams entered before heading into post season. Both UC San Diego programs have flourished this season, currently well-ranked in the region and national polls, but the work is far from over. 

"It's been a real good season thus far, I'm really pleased with both squads and what we've been able to accomplish. We are on a great trajectory," Garcia mentioned. 

"We just have to stay humble. We've had really great performances all around from the team," Romero said. "It's just important to keep our head on the ground and know that the work's not done. Those events in the past don't take us to regionals but other performances will."

The Tritons look forward to racing locally and repping their colors in front of friends, family, and peers. It gives the campus a chance to connect in rare form.

"It’s a good time to show what [the cross country team is] made of and show the campus how cool cross country is and how strong we are as team," Perkins said. 

Garcia, once a UC San Diego student-athlete, assistant coach, and now head coach, has had the privilege of experiencing the race in variety of different forms. He has been part of every Triton Classic aside from three, approaching his 24th meet this Saturday.

"We see it as a privilege to be able to host this event both for the campus, the athletic department but also for the sport in general," Garcia expressed.

"Personally I am in a unique position. It's cool to see it from all those different angles, to see how it has grown and evolved over the years. I feel really lucky to get to play my role in the history of the event."

The Triton Classic will wrap up the final regular-season meet for UC San Diego before the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships on Oct. 26.  Live results will be provided by Finished Results.

THE SCHEDULE
Triton Classic
Saturday, Oct. 12
Women’s 6K • 8 a.m.
Men’s 8K • 9 a.m. 
Forecast: Sunny, a high of 75 degrees; Wind: 8 mph
Meet Information
Live Results

THE COURSE
Site: UC San Diego North Campus Course
Terrain: The course varies in terrain from grass to dirt trails with concrete and asphalt mixed in.
A Look From Above: Check out an overview map of the 6k course by clicking here. For the 8k course, click here.

ADMISSION & PARKING
Admission is free.

Parking is available, free of charge, in the Hopkins Parking Structure. Follow the Campus Loop Road past Triton Track & Field Stadium (on left). The Hopkins Parking Structure will be located on the right side, adjacent to RIMAC Arena. For more information on directions, click here.

NATIONAL RANKINGS
The UC San Diego men are ranked No. 14 in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll and No. 2 in the West Region. Meanwhile, the Triton women are ranked No. 20 nationally and No. 6 in the West Region. For full national and regional rankings, click here.

THE COMPETITION
This year's field is made up of a mix of Division I, Division II and Division III opponents, including fellow CCAA rivals Cal State San Bernardino and Cal State San Marcos. West Region foe Point Loma will also be in attendance for the women. 

Women's 6K: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State San Marcos, LA Harbor, Mesa Community College, Point Loma, San Diego State, No. 20 UC San Diego, Unattached

Men's 8K: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 18 Cal State San Marcos, LA Harbor, Mesa Community College, No. 14 UC San Diego, UC San Diego Alumni, Unattached

HISTORY LESSON
Saturday will mark the 27th running of the Triton Classic. The UC San Diego men have finished in first place in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The women came out winners in 2005, 2011 and 2014. Last season, the men placed fourth with the women finishing fifth. For a recap of last year's Triton Classic, click here.

24 CLASSICS FOR GARCIA
Saturday's meet will represent the 24th-consecutive Triton Classic for head coach Nate Garcia. A former UC San Diego cross country student-athlete, Garcia ran for the Tritons during the fourth annual Triton Classic in 1996 and competed in his last one in 2000. Ever since the ninth running of the Triton Classic in 2001, Garcia has attended the meet as a member of the UC San Diego coaching staff.

LOCAL REPRESENTATION
This season's UC San Diego rosters feature multiple student-athletes from San Diego County. The local women include sophomore Zoie Valencia (San Marcos/San Marcos HS) and freshman Isabelle Shepherd (San Diego/University City HS). The men's list includes redshirt senior Aren Johnson (San Diego/Army and Navy Academy), junior Jake Selstad (San Marcos/San Marcos HS) and sophomore Brad Nelson (Carlsbad/Sage Creek HS). 

UP NEXT
The Tritons await the 2019 CCAA Championships at Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 26. 

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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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