SPOKANE, Wash. - Facing their first true Division II test of the
season, the UC San Diego cross country teams came through with a pair of
excellent performances as both squads posted top-seven finishes in their
respective races at the Runners Soul Erik Anderson Invitational on Saturday at
Plantes Ferry Regional Park.
The Triton women finished fifth out of 26 teams in the collegiate 6k, while the
men placed seventh in a 25-team collegiate 8k field. Saturday's race proved to
be a good barometer for where UCSD stands within the region, while also giving
the Tritons a glimpse of a course they hope to see twice more this season as
Plantes Ferry Regional Park will serve as the site for both the NCAA West
Regionals and the NCAA National Championships in November.
"We got a good measure of where we're at within the region today and we know
we've got some work to do, but we're pleased with how we performed against this
field on both sides," head coach Nate Garcia said. "We ran well on this course,
but we definitely have to get better before we're back up here in six weeks."
Sophomore Chia Chang, who led the Triton women in their season opener and at
the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational, was at the front of the pack for UCSD once
again, finishing 10th overall with a final time of 21:58.3. With a
mile pace of 5:56.3, Chang came in just over a minute behind the individual
winner, Ruby Roberts of Washington State (20:53.8).
Chang finished four spots in front of teammate Michelle Le Roux, who clocked in
at 22:12.6 to claim 14th place. Fellow rookie Dani Brabender was the
next runner to finish for the Tritons, completing the course in 23:24.6, which
was good enough for 55th place. Freshman Madison Tanner and junior
Catherine Crisp rounded out the scoring, finishing in 59th and 63rd
place, respectively. Tanner posted a final time of 23:27.7, while Crisp came in
UCSD tallied a total of 187 points
on the day, finishing 45 points behind the fourth place finisher, the College of Idaho. Division I Washington
State had five of the top seven finishers to run away with the team title with
21 points. Gonzaga finished second with 114 points, while Western Washington
took third with 133.
The Triton women, who entered the day ranked 10th in the West
Region, finished in front of regional opponents Seattle Pacific (eighth place),
Alaska Fairbanks (12th) and Western Oregon (14th), which
are all currently ranked higher in the West.
"The women really ran well today," Garcia continued. "To beat out all but one
regional opponent when we were ranked fifth out of the five teams that were
here was a great step for us. We got good efforts from Chia and Michelle and
they really carried us."
Junior Matt Lenehan was the top individual finisher on the men's side for the
Tritons, placing 29th overall with an 8k time of 25:31.1. Sophomore
Kellen Levy had the team's next-best finish at 25:44.7, which was good enough for
37th place, while fellow sophomore Mario Flores placed 52nd at
Seniors Anthony Heredia and John Svet were UCSD's final two scorers on the day,
completing the course in 26:08.4 and 26:11.2, respectively. Heredia finished in
68th place, while Svet claimed 74th.
UCSD finished with 224 points overall, which was 33 behind sixth place Northwest
Nazarene. Colorado School of Mines, which currently ranks No.3 nationally in
Division II, won the event with 27 points, while Gonzaga finished second with
96 and Lewis and Clark tallied 178 to finish third. Western Washington (181) and Western Oregon (184) rounded out the top five.
Western Washington, Western Oregon and Northwest Nazarene all entered the day
ranked in front of UCSD in the West Region.
"We didn't have our best day on the guy's side and we thought we'd be able to
finish a bit higher, but to place seventh in this field is still a great
accomplishment," Garcia added. "The teams in the region that were supposed to
beat us did, so we've got to keep improving going forward."
The Tritons will now take next weekend off to prepare for their final home meet
of the season, the annual UCSD Triton Classic, on Saturday, October 8. The
women's 6k is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m., followed by the men's 10k at
9:50. For more information on the Triton Classic, click here.