Oct. 16, 2004
The men suffered a disappointing performance at a crucial point in their season. Indiana State hosted the Pre-NCAA meet which serves as the primary opportunity for teams that do not expect to finish in the top 2 of their region to earn at large points. Points are earned by beating teams from other regions that end up finishing in the top two spots at their regional championships in 4 weeks.
Although unranked, UCSB came in hoping to surprise some people. The men had quietly moved up to a 6th place ranking in the West region. Unfortunately, the team did not run to its potential and placed a painful 28th out of 35 teams. "We ran really poorly," said head coach Pete Dolan. "There's no way to sugar-coat it, we just didn't get it done today."
The team was once again led by true sophomores Chris Ashley and Mike Chavez who finished 85th and 87th respectively. Senior Jeff Gardina was the team's 3rd in 180th, followed by Ben Berkowitz and JD Krawczyk.
Unfortunately this sinks the team's hopes of competing at the NCAA championships this year. Currently the team has not beaten a team that has a realistic chance of placing top-2 in their region, and the chance of UCSB placing first or second in the West Region is infinitesimal. The Gauchos, once heavily favored to finish 2nd at the Conference Championships, now have their work cut out for them . Utah State beat the Gauchos by 10 places at Pre-NCAA's and UC Irvine and CS Fullerton ran strong at the Cal Poly SLO Invite. The Big West Championships will be in two weeks hosted by UC Riverside.