Photo by: UCSD
Jesse Morrill was way out in front of the rest of the pack on Friday.
UCSD Men Turn In Dominant Performance, Women Finish Second In Opener Friday
Release: Friday 09/03/2010 

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego cross country teams opened the 2010 season on Friday and there was plenty for head coach Nate Garcia to smile about.

The Triton men had the top four finishers en route to a resounding victory over Cerritos College and Point Loma Nazarene, while UCSD placed three runners in the top 10 and finished second behind PLNU on the women's side.

"The goal for today was to see where we were coming out of training camp and we had a lot of people get really good marks out there," Garcia said. "We had several individuals really stand out and the men put together one of their best openers in several years."

UCSD was absolutely dominant in the men's race, recording six of the top seven times and claiming eight of the first 10 spots overall. After sitting out the 2009 season, redshirt senior Jesse Morrill had a smashing return to action on Friday, finishing first overall in the men's four mile race with a time of 22:15.3. Morrill was in control from the outset and finished the race with a cushion of nearly nine seconds.

Taking second place was sophomore Matt Lenehan, who completed the course in 22:24.1, while the freshmen duo of Mario Flores and Kellen Levy were outstanding in their first collegiate race, placing third and fourth with times of 22:29.8 and 22:34.6, respectively.  

It was another newcomer rounding out the scoring for UCSD, as junior transfer Daniel Cooper finished sixth with a time of 22:51.4. Cooper spent the last two seasons competing at Riverside Community College.

UCSD finished with a total of 16 points on the day, easily outdistancing Cerritos (58) and Point Loma (67).

With a few key members of the squad sitting this one out, the Triton women didn't have their best day, but there were still several noteworthy performances in the second race of the afternoon. Freshman Chia Chang was UCSD's top finisher, wrapping up the 2.5 mile run in 15:45. She finished behind Point Loma's Breelan Mantranga (15:20.4) and Ashlee Szabo (15:23.7), who took first and second.

Junior Aaryn Kobayashi was UCSD's second-fastest finisher on the day, clocking in at 15:47.4, good enough for fourth place. Sophomore Jackie Sikkema finished eighth at 16:34.4, while redshirt freshman Jenny Kaehms and true freshman Kaity Malloy placed 13th and 14th with respective times of 16:53.5 and 16:55.9.

"We had a lot of really good individual performances on the women's side today," Garcia continued. "We got a great, great debut from freshman Jessica Chang and Jenny Kaehms really came out strong after redshirting last season."

Point Loma tallied 21 points to win the women's race, while UCSD finished second with 42 and Cerritos scored 71 to place third.

The Tritons are back in action on Saturday, September 11 at the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational. The race is slated to begin at 8:40 a.m. on the UCI campus.

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