IRVINE, Calif. -
A week and a day removed from their last appearance, the UC San Diego cross country teams entered the adidas/UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday and held their own against schools from all levels of intercollegiate athletics at the Anteater Recreation Center.
Facing 18 other schools, the UCSD men took second overall and placed all five of their scorers within the top 30. In addition, the Triton women ended the day ninth out of 14 teams, beating Division I institutions such as host UCI and Cal State Northridge.
Junior Kellen Levy, the reigning California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Runner of the Week, cracked the top 10 of the men's 8k race with his ninth-place time of 25:46.9.
"On the men's side, it was a good battle," said UCSD head coach Nate Garcia. "Kellen did a great job of finishing up there with the top runners from a number of schools and battling with them throughout the race."
The men's team score benefited greatly from the back-to-back finishes of freshman Tareq Alwafai (25:57.6) and junior Mario Flores (25:59.0), who placed 16th and 17th, respectively.
"Tareq put himself out there early and showed the willpower to continue to fight for position all the way home," Garcia said. "Mario closed the second half of the race in a great way and really helped the team out a lot."
Sophomore Tanner Collins (26:06.2, 25th) and freshman Scott Acton (26:18.9, 30th) occupied the fourth and fifth slots of the Tritons' score set. Collins improved his time from last year's race by more than 25 seconds (26:31.5) and his place by 22 slots (47th).
UCSD earned a combined score of 82 points. Cal State San Marcos, which placed first in the men's race, had 56. The Tritons were fourth as a team at last year's meet.
Placing first among the Triton women in the 5k event was junior Chia Chang, who continued her stretch at the top of the UCSD score sheet. Chang clocked in at 18:38.5 to finish 28th overall.
"Chia recorded another strong performance to lead the way for us again," Garcia said. "We also got another solid run by freshman Carolina Guzman, a real mature run."
Chang was UCSD's top finisher at last week's season opener as well, taking third at home on the La Jolla course.
Newcomer Guzman crossed the finish line in 19:05.8 to place 45th. Guzman was followed by senior Elena Inouye (19:15.6) in 56th, sophomore Dani Brabender (19:30.4) in 71st and sophomore Michelle Le Roux (19:34.8) in 75th.
"Elena had a good day - it's been a nice comeback year for her so far and we're really pleased with that," Garcia said.
Inouye made the best improvement among UCSD's scorers, trimming her 2011 time at the meet by nearly 35 seconds (19:50.1) while leaping 50 spots in the results.
Division I Arkansas owned the top five finishes, earning the lowest possible score of 15 points, to take first place overall. The Triton women racked up a cumulative score of 243, nine points better than host UCI (252). The second-place Trojans of USC (92) trailed the Razorbacks by 77 points.
The Tritons return to the starting line on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Lancer Invitational in Riverside, Calif. Hosted by Cal Baptist, the first race is set to go off at 8:30 a.m.
2012 CCAA Championships
UCSD will be hosting the 2012 CCAA Championships on Saturday, Oct. 20. The men's 8k race will begin at 9 a.m. and will be followed by the women's 6k race at 10 a.m. On the men's side, the Tritons will face Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State East Bay, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Stanislaus, Chico State, Humboldt State and San Francisco State. The women will compete against all of the aforementioned teams in addition to Cal State L.A., Cal State San Bernardino and Sonoma State. Please stay tuned for updates regarding the meet in the upcoming weeks.
-- UCSDtritons.com --