Oct. 4, 2003
SOUTH BEND, Indiana - The Gaucho men finished 6th out of 23 teams at the Adidas Notre Dame Cross Country Invitational held Friday at Burke Memorial Golf Course in South Bend. Jeff Gardina, a junior from Santa Rosa was the top UCSB finisher coming in 9th out of 188.
Running under rainy skies with temperatures in the high 40's, Santa Barbara's top five scored 213 points to finish 6th in a field that included 4 teams ranked among the nation's top 31. The host #25 Irish upset #12 Michigan to win the team title 76-92. #29 Eastern Michigan finished 3rd with 128, followed by #31 Duke (163) in 4th, and Penn State (200) in 5th with the Gauchos finishing ahead of 7th place Alabama's score of 248. California who was ranked ahead of UCSB in the West Region going into the race finished 10th with 253 points.
Gavin Thompson of Eastern Michigan was the overall race winner, covering the 8k course in 24:06. Gardina cracked the top ten with a time of 24:46, to lead the men's squad for the second meet this fall. Senior Chris White turned in another solid performance this season finishing 25th in 25:14, while sophomore Art Avitia came up big as the Gauchos third man at 34th place in 25:25, ahead of third runners from Duke and Penn State. However, UCSB's bid to upset the Blue Devils or the Nittnany Lions fell short at the fourth and fifth spots. David Monico finished 66th in 25:48 and Pablo Gallegos was the fifth Gaucho across the line at 83rd, in a time of 25:55.
While UCSB gained experience competing in weather conditions that they may face in two weeks at the Pre National Meet in Northern Iowa, or at the West Regional at Portland in mid-November, the team still needs a much improved finish at the fourth and fifth scoring positions to have a chance at qualifying for the 31 team National Championship field.
"We had some problems out there," remarked Head Coach Pete Dolan, "however we gained a lot of experience and exposure at one of top collegiate invitationals in the country, and finished ahead of some quality programs in the process."
The Pre-National Meet will be held Saturday October 18th.