Oct. 19, 2003
WATERLOO, Iowa - UCSB finished 21st out of 35 teams in their race at the Pre-National Invitational held Saturday at Irv Warren Park in Waterloo, IA. Jeff Gardina finished 60th out of 245 athletes in a field that included 13 teams ranked among the nation's top 30 entering the meet.
#5 Colorado upset Mountain Region rival #3 Northern Arizona to capture the men's team title 109-114. The Buffalo's Dathan Ritzenhein was the overall race winner in a time of 23:18. The Gauchos point total of 497 was good for 21st, just ahead of California (22nd, 502), and and one ranked opponent, #30 La Salle (23rd, 520). Defending Big West Conference champion Utah State finished 17th with a score of 466.
Gardina's time of 24:38 paced the Gauchos, while senior Team Captain Chris White was the team's second man at 69th in a time of 24:44. Senior Pablo Gallegos cracked the top 100, finishing 99th at 25:05. Freshman Mike Chavez stepped up in his first major cross country meet as a Gaucho taking 116th in 25:16. However, the Gauchos team score suffered on the fifth spot as senior David Monico, faded to 153rd, sophomore Art Avitia had an off day finishing 162nd and seventh man Ben Armel's performance was severly hampered by a bad cold.
Santa Barbara's West Region rivals fared better than the Gauchos with #19 Arizona capturing 5th at 202, #7 Oregon taking 7th with 236, and #29 Washington State placing 16th with a total of 459.
In the first seeded race of the day #1 Stanford dominated the field with a slim 25 point total. #24 Cal Poly is now the clear Big West Conference favorite and should improve their national ranking with a strong 7th place showing at 243.
The next meet on the schedule for UCSB will be the Titan Invitational on Friday October 24th at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea. Most of the top runners on the team will rest to prepare for the Big West Championships to be held Saturday November 1st at Riverside.