Sept. 2, 2004
IRVINE, Calif. -
Cal Poly earned all nine first place votes to become the unanimous pick of the head coaches to win the 2004 Big West Men's Cross Country title. The Mustangs, who dominated at last year's conference championship by placing the top three runners, are bidding to capture their fifth title in nine years.
The Mustangs return junior Brandon Collins, the team's top finisher at last year's NCAA Championship. The team welcomes back sophomore Andy Coughlin, who was sidelined by an injury in 2003. Senior Blake Swier also is coming back after a redshirt year. The return of sophomores Luke Llamas and Matt Johnsrud gives the Mustangs a solid core that hopes to improve on their No. 14 final ranking in the 2003 MONDO Men's Cross Country poll.
UC Santa Barbara received 67 points to finish in second place. The Gauchos are led by junior Jeff Gardina, a fourth place finisher at the 2003 Big West Championship. Seniors Pablo Gallegos and Chris White also give the Gauchos another strong pair of runners.
The third place finisher was Utah State with 64 points and UC Irvine came in fourth with 46. UC Riverside and Idaho tied for fifth with 38 points. Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge rounded out the poll.
Idaho begins the cross country season on Friday by hosting the Vandal Cross Country Jamboree.
Men's Cross Country Coaches Poll Results
No. School Pts.
1. Cal Poly (9) 81
2. UC Santa Barbara 67
3. Utah State 64
4. UC Irvine 46
5. UC Riverside 38
7. Cal State Fullerton 35
8. Long Beach State 24
9. Cal State Northridge 12
( ) First-place votes