Photo by: Kaiber Takamiya/UCSD Athletics
Tareq Alwafai (left) and Brendan Gee finished eighth and 13th, respectively, at the Roy Griak Invitational.
UCSD Men Finish Second, Women Fifth at Roy Griak Invite; Triton Men Take Third at Coyote Challenge
Release: Saturday 09/24/2016 

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. and SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men’s and women’s cross country teams split up Saturday between the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by University of Minnesota at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, and the Coyote Challenge, hosted by Cal State San Bernardino on its campus.

UC San Diego is next in action on Saturday, Oct. 8, hosting the 24th annual Triton Classic beginning at 8 a.m. on North Campus. For more information, click here.

Roy Griak Invitational
The 21st-ranked men’s team had a phenomenal showing, placing second out of 40 teams in the men’s Division II race at the Roy Griak Invitational. UCSD had two in the first 15 finishers as seniors Tareq Alwafai and Brendan Gee (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) completed the eight-kilometer course in 26:22.5 for eighth and 26:32.5 for 13th, respectively.

“We had huge runs by both Tareq and Brendan at the top on the men’s side,” said head coach Nate Garcia.

Senior Scott Acton was next in 36th with a time of 27:11.2. Junior Garrett Lepine (44th/27:21.5) and sophomore Samuel Blake (56th/27:31.8) rounded out the scorers for the Tritons.

As a team, UCSD compiled 130 points (6+9+30+37+48), with all scorers finishing within 1:09 of each other, for second place. No. 6 Augustana took first with 88 points. Black Hills State (149 points), University of Manitoba (152), No. 14 Western Washington and No. 18 MSU Moorhead (283) rounded out the top six. Kevin Tree of Lakehead was the individual winner with a time of 25:57.0.

Sophomore Karina Carstens was UCSD’s leader on the women’s side, finishing in 16th with a time of 23:32.6 for six kilometers. Senior Ella Verhees (San Diego/Pt. Loma HS) came in next at 24:07.8 for 33rd. The next three Tritons completed the race within 11 seconds and 10 places of each other as juniors Skylar Thiel, Kristin Semancsin (San Diego/Valhalla HS) and Merin Arft ran 24:30.2 for 51st, 24:36.4 for 56th and 24:41.1 for 61st, respectively.

“Karina had a strong day and we had a good packing behind her,” commented Garcia.

The Triton women edged out No. 8 Western Washington by a point and took fifth place out of 40 teams with 209 points (15+32+49+54+59). No. 4 U-Mary was the team winner with 93 points. No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth (95), No. 17 Northern Michigan (122) and UC-Colorado Springs (149) all finished ahead of UCSD. Another ranked opponent that the Tritons placed ahead of was No. 16 Winona State (13th/404).

Coyote Challenge
The rest of the UCSD men and women competed at the Coyote Challenge. Sophomore Manav Vats led the Tritons, finishing eight kilometers in 26:36.61 for sixth place. Freshman Burak Tufekci (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) was next, coming in at 26:51.11 for 11th. Sophomores Joseph Benrubi and Garrett Boulais crossed the finish line right behind one another at 27:04.67 for 17th and 27:06.39 for 18th, respectively. Freshman Julian Romero rounded out the scorers, running 27:20.93 for 23rd.

UCSD placed third as a team with 77 points (6+11+18+19+23). No. 25 California Baptist (60 points) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (63) finished ahead of the Tritons. Vahagn Isayan from Cal State San Marcos won the race in 26:06.83.

UCSD could not field a full team and only ran four in the women’s five-kilometer race. Freshman Camille Perkins was the first Triton finisher at 17th place with a time of 19:40.2. Sophomores Alexandra Hernandez (31st/20:19.34), Kailyn Scott (80th/22:02.50) and Valerie Stark (91st/22:45.53) were the other UCSD racers. Laura Aceves from Cal State San Bernardino was the individual winner at 17:47.94.


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