SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UCSB men prevailed in an early season match-up of last year's Big West first and second place cross country teams. Four of the top-five scorers for the Gauchos were seniors including the reigning Big West Champion, Bryan Guijarro. After running with the leaders for 5,000m, Guijarro broke the pack and took to the front. Cal Poly's terrific junior Swarnjit Boyalwent in towe, setting up an exciting finish. As the two harriers came into view, nearly a half-mile from the finish line, Guijarro accelerated away and didn't let up until he broke the tape for the win.
Guijarro recorded an 8,000m time of 24:55.7.
UCSB senior and last year's Big West runner-up behind Guijarro, Anthony Ortolan, placed third for the Gauchos in 25:10.15.
"Right now we have a lot of depth so the top-five is going to probably shift around each race, which is a good thing to have." said Ortolan.
A new face broke into the top-five for the Gauchos in senior Andrew Farkas. Last year's Big West Bronze Medalist in the 800m, Farkas showed incredible strength, placing fifth overall for the Gauchos with a time of 25:14.82.
"Farkas had a really good complete race." said Ortolan.
"He has a senior attitude going into his last season. It's good."
Brad Littooy, one of three engineering students on the Gauchos roster, made a calculated move with 2k to go to place seventh overall, securing the No. 4 spot for the team. In a veteran move for the senior, Littooy broke free from his chase pack and accelerated into the clear, holding position until the tape. Littooy finished in 25:33.03.
UCSB junior George Baier rounded out the Gauchos top-five, placing eighth overall in 25:33.48. Holding onto teammate Littoy, Baier used his long strides to hold ground and help the Gauchos earn the win.
On a day where newcomers back-filled their top-five, only Guijarro and Ortolan were conference scorers one year ago. The Gauchos return four of their top-five from last season, losing only then-senior Bryce Rausa.
"We probably won't know who our top-five is until conference." said Guijarro.
"There is always someone who is feeling good who is going to be pushing Anthony and I."
The UCSB women faced a strong herd of Cal Poly Mustangs, yet ran a composed team race, working together throughout. A group of Cal Poly athletes quickly shot to the front of the pack, holding position they would not relinquish.
Cal Poly's Sydney Szabo won the Lagoon Race with a time of 17:53.85.
Maxine Goyette led the UCSB women by placing fifth overall with a 5,000m clip of 18:23.30. Goyette ran No. 1 for the Gauchos for the first time in her career.
The Gauchos No. 2 runner was Tori Tsolis, closing hard to place sixth overall in a time of 18:29.20.
Sarah Schreck placed 9th for the Gauchos, taking the No. 3 scoring spot for the team in a time of 18:34.35.
Goyette, Tsolis and Schreck are all seniors for the Gauchos.
Running No. 4 for UCSB was junior Kelsey O'Connell in 18:54.27, placing 11th overall.
Sophomore Jenna Hinkle rounded out the scoring positions as she finished in 13th overall in a time of 18:56.09.
"Our strategy was to run together and work as a pack." said Goyette.
"We have Riverside next Saturday and then two weeks after that we have Stanford. We're mainly focused on training and getting the best training we can before school starts."
Royal Results Link - (Timing Site)
Next up for the Gauchos
The Gauchos will next travel to UC Riverside for the Riverside Invitational, which will be held next Saturday, September 12th. UC Riverside will be the site for this year's Big West Championships, which will be held Saturday, October 31st on their historic "Ag" course.