Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
UCSD will look to open the season strong against the Sea Lions and Falcons.
Triton Harriers Open 2010 Season With Home Meet Friday
Release: Thursday 09/02/2010 
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Following 10 days of high altitude training in Mammoth, the UC San Diego cross country teams are set to kick off the 2010 season with a home meet against Cerritos College and Point Loma Nazarene on Friday.

The men's race, which will cover four miles, is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m., while the 2.5 mile women's race is slated for 4:40.

UCSD has been dominant in its home opener in recent years and last season was no different as the Tritons came away with team victories on both sides. Led by freshman Brian Knight's impressive second place performance, UCSD recorded five of the top six times to defeat Point Loma and Cerritos in the men's race, while the sophomore duo of Elena Inouye and Aaryn Kobayashi placed second and fourth, respectively, to guide the Tritons to victory over the Sea Lions, Falcons, and Seawolves of Sonoma State on the women's side.  

After finishing seventh at the NCAA West Regionals in San Francisco last season, UCSD's women enter the 2010 season ranked sixth in the West according to the USTFCCCA preseason poll. The Triton men will enter Friday's competition as the West's seventh-ranked squad after claiming ninth place at the regional meet last year.

Head coach Nate Garcia, now in his fourth season at the helm, welcomes back a total of 12 letterwinners on the women's side in 2010, while the men's roster features 10 returning athletes. Headlining the list of returnees for the women is Inouye, who was one of UCSD's most consistent performers in 2009. The Torrance, Calif. native posted a total of four top 20 finishes and was the Tritons' first or second finisher in five out of six races.

Kobayashi is also back after a solid sophomore campaign in which she finished among UCSD's top-five in all but one race on the year. The women's roster also features senior Brianna Alban, junior Gina Beckman and sophomore Jackie Sikkema, all very capable runners.

Two guys to watch on the men's side are seniors Jesse Morrill and Max Mullender, who both return to the lineup after redshirting in 2009. Morrill scored in a total of five meets in 2008, while Mullender earned an All-CCAA nod after finishing 13th in the conference meet that season. Garcia also welcomes back Jeremy Riley, UCSD's top finisher on three occasions last season, including the NCAA West Regional, where he placed 35th.

"I definitely think both squads will be better than we were last season," Garica said. "We've had a really good preseason and we're ready to get out there and compete. If we take care of business, I think we'll have a great year and make some noise at the conference championships."

The Triton women will again look to compete for a CCAA Championship after finishing second in McKinleyville last season, while the men will attempt to improve on their fifth place showing.

Following this weekend's race, the Tritons will take part in the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday, September 11. UCSD will then compete in the San Diego State Aztec Invitational on September 18, before traveling to Minneapolis for the Roy Griak Invite the following week.

The Tritons will then return to competition with the annual Triton Classic on Saturday, October 9 on the UCSD campus. This year's event will begin with the men running a 10k at 9:00 a.m., followed by the women's 6k at 10:15.

UCSD will then take a week off to prepare for the CCAA Preview Meet on October 23, before returning to South El Monte, Calif. for the conference championships on November 6. The Tritons will then travel to Bellingham, Wash. for the NCAA West Regional on November 20, looking to qualify for the NCAA National Championships, which will be held on December 4 in Louisville, Ky.

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