Riverside, Calif. - Gut-wrenching performances rang true for the lady Gauchos at the 37th Annual UC Riverside Invitational this weekend as they placed 5th out of 29 teams over the six kilometer distance. Cool temperatures and cloudy overcast gave prime opportunity for some solid times to shine across the board, taking out every Big West rival team present at the meet in the process. The peaking sunrise would greet the men's team shortly after where they would go on to place 7th out of 32 teams overall over eight kilometers, touting a legion of underclassmen to score things out on this occasion. Save Cal State Fullerton, the men would also take down some conference rivals in the likes of UC Davis, UC Irvine, among others.
Jenna Hinkle would claim the individual spotlight once again by throwing down a 19:59.8, a 35 second improvement from her performance on this course last year, to take second place overall and first among collegians. Her time on the Riverside course ranks only behind that of 5000-meter school record holder Amanda Babineaux, who ran 19:57.0 to win the conference meet on the Ag/Ops course over 7 years ago. In tow would be a switcheroo of last year's 2 and 3 runners in the likes of Katie Camarena and Miranda Ross, clocking 21:00 and 21:24 respectively. Rounding out the top five would be Emily Lopez in 21:33, and true freshmen Ellie Nisbet who would slip into a scoring position for the first time in 21:40. "The women's team overall had a complete performance today," pointed out Head Coach Pete Dolan. "From the youngest seventeen-year-old freshmen to the matured fifth year, the culmination of overall team performance was very good. It was also nice to beat all the conference rivals [like UC Davis, UC Riverside, and Cal State Fullerton] today."
On the men's side, Patrick Bourke would lead the team once again with a 24th place finish in a time of 24:41.9, a little over a 2 second improvement from the year prior. Behind him would ensue a scramble for local bragging rights, as true and redshirt freshmen alike would duke it out for the 2-5 scoring positions. A gritty Brian Schulz would muscle his way through the final mile to take 53rd in 25:07.9, with the closing scorers flooding in shortly after with Isaiah Lozano in 66th in 25:17.9, Yousef Baddour in in 68th in 25:18.9, and Nick Randazzo in 69th in 25:19.5. "This is the youngest men's team I've ever had to prepare to represent UCSB," remarked Coach Dolan. "It's an uncomfortable situation, but at this point we're handling it well, and I'm happy with their progress today."
The Gauchos will have their eyes set north to Springfield, Oregon to take on the likes of the pac-12 at the Bill Dellinger Invitational in two weeks time. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.