Photo by: Ken Grosse/UCSD Athletics
Men's 8k race champion sophomore Tanner Collins ran a 26:15 to lead the Tritons to their first-place finish.
Men First, Women Third at 20th Annual Triton Classic
Release: Saturday 10/06/2012 
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Marking the midway point of the season, the UC San Diego cross country teams hosted their 20th Annual Triton Classic Cross Country Invitational Saturday, in which the men won for the second straight season and the women earned a hard-fought third-place showing.

"I think both teams handled it well," said Tritons head coach Nate Garcia. "The guys went right to the front of the pack, controlled the race from the beginning, and in a field this size, it's a real good indicator of where their confidence and ability levels are."

Sophomore Tanner Collins not only won the men's 8k race, he dominated it. Collins led the pack at every mile marker in the event and crossed the finish line in 26:15.0 as the undisputed champion.

"I put in the work here this year, and I've been making steps to become better," Collins said. "I guess we're just going to, as a team, keep up the good work, try to maintain our home-course advantage and finish strong."

Collins' finish only foreshadowed the performance of the men's scorers, who all contributed single-digit scores in the field of 158 competitors. Putting things into perspective, last year's men's race had only 66. Junior Kellen Levy (26:30.2), freshman Tareq Alwafai (26:35.3) and freshman Scott Acton (26:36.9) finished fifth, sixth and eighth overall, respectively. Junior Mario Flores (26:48.1) was the fifth finisher for the Tritons, earning nine points for the Tritons' tally in his 13th-place finish.

The men turned in a combined score of 25 points (1-4-5-6-9) in their event while D-I Loyola Marymount settled for second (85), Orange Coast College took third (92) and Cal Baptist followed in fourth (111).

The UCSD women, who took home the team title at last year's Triton Classic, finished third overall out of 22 schools in their 6k race and first among schools in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).

For the 10th consecutive meet, junior Chia Chang led UCSD and was the only Triton in her race to crack the top 10. Chang finished seventh overall, with a time of 22:38.8. Chang was followed by freshman Marie Diaz in 13th, who finished in 22:59.3.

Rounding out the women's top five were 17th-place finisher freshman Carolina Guzman (23:10.3), sophomore Michelle Le Roux in 22nd (23:29.2) and freshman Chandler Colquitt in 44th (23:59.7).

The women, who competed in a field of nearly 240 runners, earned a team score of 99 (7-13-17-20-42), just four points behind second-place San Diego State (1-5-18-26-45) with 95. The Lions of LMU, which rested their top six runners for this meet, claimed the women's team title with their 71-point team score (3-10-11-15-32).

"There's still some pieces we need to put together on the women's side," Garcia said. "We saw some really good individual efforts and as we put those pieces together as a whole team, I think we're going to be ready to roll."

Senior Marianne Hogan of SDSU placed first in the women's race. Hogan won the race in 22:06.1, which was 8.5 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, senior Lisa Ohberg of Cal State L.A. (22:14.6).

The Tritons will wait another two weeks before they host and compete in their next meet, the 2012 CCAA Championships, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20. 

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.

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.

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