A pair of 2nd place finishes for UCSB Cross Country teams at the Aztec InvitationalThe men's and women's teams traveled to San Diego to compete against more than a dozen teams at the Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State University. The team champion for the men's race was the Air Force Academy with 50 points. The UCSB men's team scored 85 points, the same as Southern Utah, but moved into 2nd place by having the sixth Gaucho place better than the sixth man from SUU. The women's team tallied 97 points to finish second behind Arkansas, who is currently ranked fourth in the country.
Head coach Pete Dolan's main focus for the race was to have the team work together in groups to run at a faster pace. To accomplish this plan he had both teams start out in a conservative position and begin to pass other runners during the last part of this difficult course. With big improvements by some key runners, and two-second place finishes, the Gauchos came away with a successful weekend.
Team captain Tim Aukshunas led the way for the men with a 5th place finish in a time of 25:39 over the 8k course. He was followed by another solid finish by Scott Smith coming in 13th place with a time of 26:13. Senior Mike Powers and sophomore Dillon Brook showed strong performances, coming in 16th and 20th place overall. As fifth man for the Gauchos, Erik Aardall continues to show big improvements, finishing in 34th place with a time of 26:38. Freshman Matthew Petrillo ran a breakthrough race finishing in 39th place and as the 6th Gaucho moved the team into 2nd place. He was followed closely by Julian DeRubira in 40th place and rounding out the Gaucho top seven. Other Gaucho men finishers included Anthony Masci(47), Gabe Lopez(48), Jayson Hayes(49) & Andrew Pilavjian(61) .
On the women's side, senior Megan Lewis showed her poise by moving up 15 spots in the last mile and a half to finish 6th overall with a time of 18:04 for the 5k. She was followed by Liza Hitchner and Danielle Domenichelli, who worked together to place 16th and 17th respectively. Sophomore Alyssa Brown finished in 31st with a time of 19:02 and freshman Andrea Jacobs finished just two seconds and two places back, both having good performances. Freshman Breanne Strenkowski in 42nd and Sophomore Lisette Arellano in 51st made up the top seven for the Gaucho women. Other Gaucho women finishers were Stephanie Garcia(63), Ashley Ramirez(70), Lindsay Keough(89), Danielle Guerin(99), Sarah Roth(105) & Lindsay Brunner(115).
For complete results visit SDSU athletic website at: http://goaztecs.cstv.com/
The Gauchos will be back on the racecourse in two weeks as the women travel to Minnesota for the Griac invitational and the men head to Palo Alto for the Stanford invitational.