Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara Cross Country teams faced off against conference rivals Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton for the second meet in a row this season, this time on home soil as they battled it out along the single tracks and sand sand dunes of the Campus Lagoon this past Saturday. The Cal Poly men were able to come out on top for the men's 8k with 34 points to UCSB's 43 while the Cal State Fullerton women took the victory in the women's 5k with 34 points over Cal Poly's 43 with UCSB taking third with 48 points. Sophomore pair Nick Randazzo and Yousef Baddour were able to sweep the top two spots in the men's race with times of 24:53.43 and 25:00.55 respectively while junior Katie Camarena and sophomore transfer Astrid Rosvall were able replicate a Gaucho 1-2 finish in the women's race with 17:06.91 and 17:07.71 clockings.
Interim Head Coach Darius Terry commented that this weekend's results came with conflicting ideals. On one hand the Gauchos handily claimed top individual accolades, but the strength in numbers eluded both teams this time around as the Cal Poly men and Cal State Fullerton women edged out both squadrons in the team standings. "It was a mixed bag. The top groups came through well but we need to bridge the gap between our top five as the season progresses. We just came off a big week in Mammoth so I'm looking forward to our upcoming meets regardless."
The men's 8k would be a well contested race with all three Big West teams jockeying for the lead as soon as the gun went off. The first three miles would have the majority of the competitors in contention, but as the pellaton emerged from the single track on the second loop of the course, Fullerton's Sam Pimentel would vye for the lead with UCSB's own Nick Randazzo giving chase.
As they took on the last winding dirt trail with three quarters of a mile left, Randazzo took a commanding lead that only grew in size as the race came to a close, securing the individual victory in front of the home crowd. Yousef Baddour would follow right behind in a tight exchange between him and Cal Poly's Jake Ritter, but Baddour would come out on top this time around in the final meters to take second overall. Despite this, Cal Poly would show it's trump card at the very end of the race scooping up spots six through nine to take the team title. True freshman Jack Landgraf would come in today as UCSB's third scorer in 15th with a time of 25:38.43, with redshirt junior James Douglass finishing shortly after in 17th in 25:42.80. Redshirt junior Daniel Mountcastle would close out the scoring for the Gauchos in 19th, coming in with a time of 25:46.10.
The women's race would kick off after the men with a huge pack of Fullerton runners making their intentions known right away, forming a barricade of five at the front with everyone in tow through the first mile. By mile two the race had dwindled down to two Gauchos, two Titans, and three Mustangs, with Fullerton's Trinity Ruelas and Lucina Vincent taking charge emerging from the campus lagoon's peninsula. Once they emerged from the downhill section, Astrid Rosvall began to take charge, duking it out with Vincent on the final dirt trail with Katie Camarena a good 10 to 15 meters behind at this point in the race. As they rounded the final turn for home with just a quarter mile left in the race, Rosvall took the lead and began inching away from the Fullerton duo, with Camarena mustering up a late charge from fourth. With 200 to go, Camarena had caught up to Rosvall and both were gunning for home, gapping the pair of Titans by a good 15 meters in just a matter of moments. In the end, Camarena would edge her teammate at the line with less than a second separating the two, emulating the 1-2 finish the Randazzo and Baddour had in the men's race.
Three from Cal Poly would cross the line after Vincent and Ruelas, but Fullerton would remain strong with their own pack of three finishing right behind the Mustangs, clutching the victory for the team title. Senior Miranda Ross would come in 13th shortly after both packs of three strolled in with a time of 17:45.59, with true freshman Kyla Ramsey finishing just behind her in 15th with a time of 17:47.94. Sophomore Marisa Rodriguez would finish up the scoring for the Gauchos with a late charge in 18th with a time of 17:59.58.
Both teams will be back in action in two weeks time as they gear up for the Stanford Invitational on the 29th. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.