Oct. 31, 2009
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- For the fifth time in seven years, the Gaucho women's cross country squad captured the Big West team championship. Saturday's meet was held at UC Riverside's Agricultural Operations course.
The Gauchos scored 51 points to capture the crown, ahead of second-place UC Davis (61 points) and third-place Cal Poly (74 points). The top runner for UCSB was Crystal Reed, who was competing in her first Big West Championship meet. Reed's time over the 6k course was 20:43.5, which was good for fourth place and All-Conference honors.
Three other Gauchos finished in the top-10. First among them was Amanda Moreno, who was also competing in the Conference Championships for the first time. She took sixth place with her time of 20:48.9. She was followed by a group that included Breanne Strenkowski --who took ninth at 21:06.9, and Katie Voigtlander --who took 10th at 21:07.7. All three of them also picked up All-Conference honors.
The team had four runners in the top-10 for most of the race, grouped together in a pack that moved up to the front as the finish line approached. Although they were caught and passed by a few runners, they were able to stay together and hold onto their spots in the top-10.
Assistant coach Avery Blackwell was very satisfied to see the team bounce back for the most important race of the season.
"This race was the complete opposite of Pre-Nats. They all ran awesome today," said Blackwell.
"I guess they've been focusing on this race all year. I'm very impressed with the way the team brought everything together for the race where it mattered the most, and am very excited to see what they can do at Regionals."
The men's squad captured a second-place team finish with 67 points. They were behind the 28 points scored by winners Cal Poly, who had all five of their scorers in the top-10. UC Davis was the third-place team with 81 points.
Julian deRubira was the top runner for the Gauchos with his second-place individual performance of 23:40.3. He trailed Joe Gatel of Cal Poly, who took the individual Conference Title with a course-record time of 23:36.8. Scott Smith also earned All-Conference honors for the Gauchos with his fifth-place performance of 24:00.5.
The men's team began the race at a high tempo, with Smith in particular heading out at a blistering pace. Smith's first mile was unofficially clocked at about 4:28, which gave him second place early in the race. Surprisingly, a few of the early leaders were able to keep going through to the finish. Julian deRubira sat back early and caught a few runners close to the finish to earn second place.
Unfortunately for UCSB, the supporting group of runners were hit by illness during the week. They were unable to replicate the solid performances they turned in two weeks ago at Pre-Nats. Waleed Totari only managed 13th place with a time of 24:40.8, and Juan Paredes was 15th at 24:40.8. Doug Whichard was the surprise fifth scorer for the Gauchos, covering the course in 25:54.6 for 34th place.
"Doug ran a conservative race, which was good for the situation the men were in. They were able to hold onto second place because of him," remarked coach Blackwell.
"We have a pretty good team, and are a little disappointed. But it also speaks well for the team that they were able to come away with second, even on a day when they were a little bit off."
Today's results were the third and fourth events scored in the inaugural Blue-Green Rivalry. The Gauchos picked up a point for finishing ahead of the Mustangs in the women's championship, and the Mustangs pick up a point for finishing ahead of the Gauchos in the men's championship. UCSB is currently leading the scoring, 3-1. To learn more about the Blue-Green Rivalry, please click here.
The Gaucho cross country squads will return to action at the NCAA West Regional in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 14th, hosted by the University of Oregon.
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.
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