SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With temperatures climbing up to the mid-80s around race time, the UC Santa Barbara Cross Country teams would be feeling the heat from both the weather and their Big West Conference Rivals Cal Poly, as the Mustangs would go on to capture team wins on both the men's and women's side this year's UCSB Lagoon Open.
The UCSB women would kick things off first with a strong individual showing from SR Jenna Hinkle. Fresh off an NCAA Championship birth just less than three months ago in track, Hinkle would orchestrate the race from the get go, leading the first group of women until breaking away just before the two-mile mark, winning convincingly with a time of 17:41.74. Jenna's individual accolades would unfortunately not be enough to ward off the lady Mustangs from demonstrating a clean team performance, taking the second, third, fourth, six, and seventh placings to win the dual 22-37. SR Emily Lopez would spoil the five-woman Cal Poly string by hanging in tough through the five-kilometer affair to take 5th place in 18:35.55. The Gauchos would round out the scoring with JR Miranda Ross in 8th (18:46.00), FR Andrea Anez in 11th (18:53.48), and JR Tori Yanco in 12th (18:58.85). "The women were good today," Head Coach Pete Dolan remarked. "It was really exciting to see Jenna run away with the individual championship. Emily Lopez really came through. Probably the best race of her career. We had some really exciting freshman performances too with Andrea."
The men's team would unfortunately face a rough day in the office against a well-seasoned Cal Poly men's team. The return of three top-five Big West Cross Country scorers from the 2016 Championships would prove to be too much for a weakened UCSB squadron, with Cal Poly barely missing a clean sweep 17-44. SR Patrick Bourke would take the race head on from the start and grind things out to come through with a 4th place finish (25:49.20). Redshirt FR Yousef Baddour would come in shortly after with a well controlled 6th place effort (26:12.30). The scoring would be completed with fellow redshirt FR Isaiah Lozano in 10th (26:53.80), redshirt FR Juan Ambriz in 11th (27:10.00), and JR James Douglass in 12th (27:10.40).
Regarding the men's performance, Coach Dolan mentioned that the race went as expected, noting that some key returners had to sit out due to injury. "Patrick Bourke had a nice race today in leading the Gauchos," Pete proclaimed. He would go on the claim that, "the freshmen ran really well unattached. The first three (Brian Schulz, Nick Randazzo, and Thomas Wilfert) might be racing in uniform in our next race[at Riverside]. It was really nice to see the newcomers come through."
The Gauchos will head up to Mammoth Lakes, CA next week for a quick stint at altitude in order get in some high-quality training and team bonding. The next time they'll be in action is at the UC Riverside Invitational on September 16th. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.