Photo by: Derrick Tuskan

Tritons Prepped for NCAA West Regional in Oregon this Saturday

UC San Diego

MONMOUTH, Ore. – The University of California San Diego men's and women's cross country teams head to the NCAA West Regional this weekend at Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore. The Tritons will attempt to earn a berth to the NCAA Championships taking place on Sat., Nov. 23 in Sacramento.

The competition in the West Region consists of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and Pac West Conference. All teams from the three conferences will merge at Western Oregon's home course with a chance to extend their seasons and advance to the National Championship.

Familiarity is in the air as the last time the Tritons competed in Monmouth was in 2017 for the NCAA West Regional, also located at Ash Creek Preserve. The women finished 11th, as the men took 10th.

UC San Diego will be succeeding its third and fourth place finishes from the men and women, respectively, at the CCAA Championships on Oct. 26.

With the 2019 season on the line, the Tritons are eager to get up to Oregon to race amongst other well established West Region programs.

“Our teams look great. It’s been a good two weeks of preparation coming off the CCAA Championship meet and we are really excited to get this test,” said Head Coach Nate Garcia.

More often than not, postseason is an all-time favorite moment of the year for the scholar-athletes. After many hours of training and days on end testing personal limits, the playoffs bring out the best in different individuals and different teams.

Sophomore Brett Beattie, who led the Triton men as a true freshman at last year’s West Regional meet (30th/31:55.3), treasures the ability to compete for something so significant alongside fellow teammates and best friends.  

“My favorite part about postseason is traveling with the team and having fun. [It’s about] being able to look to our sides and know that we are racing with the best team possible and hopefully [we] make it to Nationals,” Beattie said. 

On top of just racing for the hardware, postseason has the power to strengthen and unite a pack quite differently than regular meets throughout the year. 

“I love traveling [with the cross country team]. [Postseason] makes us closer, brings a bond and most importantly we race well together,” said junior Kendra Corey.

The Triton scholar-athletes have taken UC San Diego’s last year in the CCAA and Division II to heart. 

“We have been hashtagging ‘Leave Your Mark’ on everything. We want to show that [UC San Diego] is going to be missed in the conference and in the [Division II] West Region,” Corey added. 

Overall, having had a very successful year on both sides of the program, each team has taken great strides from last season as well as from the beginning of the 2019 campaign.

“What I am most proud of from this squad is their ability to come together, to be receptive to teaching and education and their ability to take on challenges and rise to the occasion,” said Garcia. “[These scholar-athletes] are all folks that are looking for solutions which has made them such a dynamic group and fun to coach.”

The Tritons will be fighting for their lives this weekend but Garcia believes his pack is ready to take the next step forward and hopefully punch a ticket to the NCAA Championships.

THE SCHEDULE
at NCAA West Regional
Saturday, Nov. 9
Ash Creek Preserve • Monmouth, Ore. 
Women's 6K • 10 a.m. 
Men's 10K • 11:15 a.m.
Forecast: Cloudy, high of 53 degrees, low of 44 degrees. Wind: 1 mph SE
Live Results • Host Site  • Participant Manuel

THE COURSE
Site: Ash Creek Preserve
Terrain: The course features a mostly flat, grassy surface with occasional segments of gravel and rolling berms. 
A Look From Above: Check out an overview map of the women's 6K course here. For the men's 10K course, click here.
Virtual Tourhttp://skyway.pics/wou

NATIONAL RANKING
The UC San Diego men’s team is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation and No. 3 in the West Region in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. The women’s team sits at No. 23 in the nation and No. 7 in the West Region. To view the full rankings, click here.

HOW TO QUALIFY FOR NATIONALS
The top three teams from each region automatically qualify for the NCAA meet on both the men's and women's sides, along with ten at-large teams selected by the NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Cross Country Committee by way of a head-to-head comparison. There is no limit to the number of at-large teams that can be selected from any given region.

After 34 teams have been determined, a minimum of 24 additional individuals of each gender will be selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. The top-two individuals who are not part of a qualifying team will automatically advance (16 individuals total), as well as all runners who finish in the top-five at the regional meet and are not part of a qualifying team. The next eight individuals will be chosen as an at-large selection, based on the strength of region.

THE COMPETITION
USTFCCCA Nationally Ranked Women’s Teams (6K): No. 4 Chico State, No. 11 Western Washington, No. 13 Alaska Anchorage, No. 14 Seattle Pacific, No. 16 Cal State East Bay, No. 21 Cal Poly Pomona, No. 23 UC San Diego, No. 25 Cal State Stanislaus

USTFCCCA Nationally Ranked Men’s Teams (10K): No. 2 Chico State, No. 16 Cal State San Marcos, No. 19 UC San Diego, Cal Poly Pomona (RV), Biola (RV)

AT THE CCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Triton men’s team earned third place and the women placed fourth at the 2019 CCAA Championships on Oct. 26 in Arcata. Redshirt seniors Aren Johnson (3rd/25:01.1) and Sam Blake (7th/25:08.9) each picked up All-CCAA honors, as well as freshman Samantha Rocke (11th/22:41.7). The men accumulated 80 points, while the women gathered 111 points, both improving performances from last year’s conference meet. 

In addition, junior Elijah Horwitz just missed All-CCAA recognition, placing 16th overall with a time of 25:29.0.  Senior Tim Corvese took 30th (26:08.2) and sophomore Brett Beattie finished 31st (26:09.2).

For the women, freshman Caitlin Billman came in 23rd (23:08.1), as senior Camille Perkins trailed right behind in 25th (23:11.17).  Sophomore Madalyne Coney (27th/23:13.2) and Kendra Corey (29th/23:16.3) both delivered top-30 efforts. 

WEST REGION HISTORY
Women
Last season, the Triton women were led by Alexandra Hernandez’s 45th-place finish in the 6K race with a time of 22:20.8, en route a 14th place team effort in Billings, Mont.

The UC San Diego women last qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2014 after finishing fourth at the West Regional meet. Paige Hughes earned All-West Region honors with a 16th-place finish (22:01.8), while Corinne Hinkle was 37th (22:41.08), Chandler Colquitt was 38th (22:45.59) and Michelle Le Roux came in 39th (22:46.58). With a score of 516 points, UC San Diego took 21st overall.

Ella Verhees was the last Triton woman to qualify for the national meet as an individual after finishing ninth (21:30.4) at the 2017 West Regional. Bre Schofield also did it back in the 2008 West Regional (5th/21:44.2).

Alaska Anchorage won the 2018 West Regional, while Cal Baptist won in 2017. For year-by-year results, click here.

Men
Brett Beattie led the men's team last year in Billings, Mont., finishing just shy of All-West Region honors, placing 30th in the 10K race (31:55.3). UC San Diego took ninth as a team.

In 2017, Aren Johnson earned All-West Region recognition with a 20th place finish (30:53.4), falling short of a bid to the national meet. As a team, the Tritons displayed a 10th place production. 

The Triton men had two individual qualifiers in 2016 when Tareq Alwafai and Brendan Gee both advanced. Alwafai placed 7th overall with a time of 30:09.47, while Gee finished 10th (30:30.87).

The UC San Diego men's team last qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2007, when the Tritons took third place at the West Regional. Jesse Morrill finished 24th (25:40.7), Kevin Klein was 27th (31:58.5) and Greg Geldman came in 28th (32:01.1).

Tanner Collins qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual in 2014, placing 14th (31:31.12). Alwafai qualified in 2013, when he earned a 14th place finish (32:26.2) and set a UC San Diego course record at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in Spokane, Wash.

Chico State has won the West Regional the last three years (2016-18). For year-by-year results, click here.

The men's and women's teams both qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2003 and again in 2007. 

HEAD COACH NATE GARCIA
Former Triton student-athlete Nate Garcia is in his 13th season as head coach of the UC San Diego cross country program. He took over the reins in 2007 after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. Garcia was a four-year letter winner in cross country and track at UC San Diego from 1996-2000. He earned numerous athletic and academic honors, including All-Academic District VIII and CCAA All-Academic accolades in 2000-01.

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). 

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.

Follow The Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@ucsdtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (ucsdtritons).

 

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