SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – After being greeted by 80+ degree weather for two days in Eugene leading up to the meet, the UC Santa Barbara cross country team found a more typical Oregon welcome at the Springfield Golf Course with pleasant overcast in the 60s and on and off sprinkles of rain as they took on a small but deep field at the Bill Dellinger Invitational this past Friday. Ultimately both teams would finish in the lower half of the field, the women taking 8th out of 10 teams and the men taking the 9th out of 9 teams, but the results on paper only tell half the story as the teams homes in on the latter half of the season.
The men's team would take off sharply at 10 am, knowing full well they'd have to be ready with the likes of Stanford, Oregon, and Brigham Young University among others in the field. After being the No. 4 scorer at Riverside two weeks ago, redshirt freshman Isaiah Lozano would have his time in the spotlight by taking 43rd overall in an 8k time of 24:25.3, solidly placing himself as the top Gaucho on the men's side on the day. After Lozano, the rest of the Gaucho men would file in, starting with true freshman Brian Schulz taking 74th in 24:51.8. Behind him would be Patrick Bourke in 77th in 24:54.5, followed closely by George Baier racing for the first time this season in 79th in 24:58.6, and Yousef Baddour finishing the team scoring in 81st in 25:00.1.
On the women's side, the nature of the race would be intense from the get go, with Oregon's Katie Rainsberger taking close to a 50-meter lead by the first mile mark and splitting around 5:01, with UCSB senior Jenna Hinkle leading the chase group back in around 5:11. Throughout the race, Hinkle would find herself clashing with some of the best girls in the west region, doing what she could to ward off the likes of a solid pack of Oregon runners as well as a few from the Stanford, Portland, and Washington crowd. After a hard-fought individual battle, Hinkle would take 8th overall out of 107 total runners in a 6k time of 19:17.1. Behind Hinkle, sophomore Katie Camarena would put on another solid performance as the No. 2 scorer to take a 40th place finish in a time of 20:11.8. Miranda Ross would glide in a few moments later to take 57th in a time of 20:33.3, showing that consistency has been key for herself this season as she's been the third scorer for the Gauchos in every single meet so far. Closing things out would be sophomores Celeste Wilson and Isa Marshall, taking 75th in 21:02.3 and 82nd in 21:15.8 respectively.
"This is the highest quality meet the program's been a part of in years," remarked head coach Pete Dolan. "The University of Oregon does everything right. The announcers were great, the head of USATF was there, [2016 Olympic 1500m Champion] Matt Centrowitz was there signing autographs, and even King Cheserek was in attendance. It almost felt like a small scale national meet."
Regarding the team's performance, Pete would go on to say that the team ran well relative to the competition they faced. "The results are deceiving as improvements were made all around."
The Gauchos will take a week away from racing to gear up for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational on October 14th, their last tune up before the conference championships in Riverside. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.