SPOKANE, Wash. - Tareq Alwafai qualified for the NCAA National Championships as the UC San Diego cross country teams competed at the NCAA West Regionals Saturday in Spokane, Wash. at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex. The Triton men just missed qualifying for the championships as a team with a sixth-place finish, while the UCSD women came in 11th.
The Tritons finished the day with four runners earning All-West Region honors, led by Alwafai’s 14th-place finish. Tanner Collins of the men’s team also earned the accolade after finishing 17th. The women’s team placed Marie Diaz, who finished 22nd, and Paige Hughes, who came in 23rd, on the All-West Region team.
Alwafai set a new UCSD course record with his time of 32:26.2 to power the men in the 10k run, while Collins wasn’t far behind with a time of 32:29.8.
Seniors Matt Lenehan (37th) and Kellen Levy (43rd) came across the finish line next for UCSD at 33:07.7 and 33:16.6, respectively. The final scorer for the Tritons with a time of 33:51.6 in 67th was sophomore Scott Acton.
As a team, UCSD finished with 168 points and a total time of 2:45:14. The men trailed California Baptist by 18 points, who grabbed the final spot in the NCAA championship with 150 points and a time of 2:44:19. Chico State (33 points) won the race and was followed by Alaska Anchorage (81 points) in second, Cal Poly Pomona (90 points) in third and Western Washington (102 points) in fourth, respectively.
Chico’s Isaac Chaves won the race with a time of 30:56.
In the women’s 6k race, all-region finishers Diaz and Hughes led UCSD. Diaz, a sophomore from San Leandro, came across the finish line with a time of 22:49.6 to finish 22nd. She was followed by Hughes, a sophomore from San Diego, in 23rd with a mark of 22:51.0.
Sophomore Chandler Colquitt was the next finisher for the Tritons, placing 53rd at 23:28.5. The final two scoring runners for UCSD were Michelle Le Roux, who came across the finish line at 24:15.2 in 93rd, and freshman Ella Verhees, who placed 96th at 24:21.5.
As a team, the Tritons placed 11th out of 23 teams and concluded the race with 282 points and a total time of 1:57:48. Alaska Anchorage won the race with 76 points, just ahead of Chico State who totaled 79 points. Simon Fraser (94 points), Seattle Pacific (137 points) and Western Washington (157) rounded out the top five in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Anchorage’s Susan Tanui won the event with a mark of 21:46.
Alwafai will be the lone Triton runner moving on to the NCAA National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23. The race will also be held at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in Spokane. It marks the first time a UCSD runner will race in the national championship since the 2008 season.