Sept. 18, 2001
Santa Barbara, CA -
The men's cross country team unveiled their A-Team at the UCSB Lagoon 8 kilometer meet on Tuesday, taking first place in a tri-meet against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Westmont. With seniors Josh Horton and Eric Gans finishing first and second respectively, and five runners in front of Poly's third finisher, the men came away with a commanding victory score of 21, with Poly trailing at 38 and Westmont in third with 76.
Though the Gaucho score offered a reason for celebration, the Gauchos remain wary of Poly after the 2000 season. "We beat them twice during the regular season, and then they killed us at conference and regionals," said 5th year veteran Steve Rider. "On the other hand, we have a better team than last year. Everyonehas gotten faster, especially Aaron (Sharp) and I who provide improved 4th and 5th scoring spots - something we desperately needed last year."
The Gauchos opened up with victories against Cal Poly last year and beat them again at Stanford, but were blitzed at the Conference Championships where the Mustangs claimed their 3rd straight title. Two weeks later, SLO stunned the Western NCAA district by taking third at the regional championships. The Mustangs return four from their regional squad, including last track season's conference 5,000m and 10,000m winner Paulo Carvahlo. Also in Poly's lineup is All-Conference Cross Country runner David Ulibarri and All-Conference 1500m runner David Jackson.
Carvahlo and Jackson finished 3rd and 4th respectively, with UCSB junior Brandon von Guenthner taking 5th followed by Gaucho seniors Aaron Sharp and Steve Rider.
Cal Poly is expected to be the team to beat in the Big West Conference. The Mustangs received the highest ranking in the first NCAA MONDO Poll (3 votes). UC Irvine was the only other Big West team to be ranked (one vote). The Gauchos will not face Poly at full strength again until the Conference Championships.
The team will now prepare for their first major cross country invite at the Stanford Invitational scheduled for Saturday, September 29th. The women's 6k is scheduled to begin at 4:50 P.M. followed by the men's 8k at 5:15