October 26, 2000

UCSB Set To Host Big West Cross Country Championships Saturday

Oct. 26, 2000

Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara will host the 2000 Big West Cross Country Championships on Saturday, October 28 at the Glen Annie Golf Club. The women's race is set to start at 9:00 a.m. with the men's race scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

UCSB, along with two-time defending men's team champion Cal Poly and a strong Utah State team, are the three men's team favorites. The Gauchos are led by juniors Josh Horton and Eric Gans who have each put together outstanding seasons. Horton finished sixth in last year's Big West Championship and this year he has emerged as one of the league's top runners. He has had several outstanding finishes this year, including a victory at the Fresno Invitational and a fifth-place finish at the Stanford Invitational. Gans was UCSB's top finisher at the Pre-Nationals in Ames, Iowa.

Cal Poly's Adam Boothe, the 1999 Big West individual champion, will once again be one of the favorites for individual honors this year. He recently won the Cal Poly Invitational in a course record 25:49. Other men's runners to watch for include Cal Poly's Ryan Hayes (4th at 1999 Big West Championship) and Avery Blackwell (5th at 1999 Big West Championship) and UC Irvine's Jon Doroski (7th at 1999 Big West Championship and 25th at 1999 West Regional).

On the women's side, defending champion UC Irvine figures to be the favorites again. Early in the year, the Anteaters were receiving votes in the top-25 poll. Other teams who could contend include Idaho, which finished second last season and returns four of its top five runners, Cal Poly, which recently won its own invitational and Utah State. UC Santa Barbara could challenge with a young squad that includes five true freshmen.

Individually there are several contenders for the women's title. UCI's Kareen Nilsson has had an impressive year, finishing second at the UC Irvine Invitational, fourth at the Aztec Invitational and tenth at the Stanford Invitational. Last year, Nilsson finished seventh at the Big West meet. Utah State's Rebekah Thornley finished ninth at the 1999 Big West Championship and she could move up. Thornley's teammate, Beka Leffler should also contend. Other contenders include Cal Poly's Jen Derego (4th at the UC Irvine Invitational and 23rd at the Stanford Invitational), Idaho's Jaime Stone (11th at 1999 Big West Championship) and Zsanett Teveli (12th at 1999 Big West Championship), Christine Riel of Long Beach State and Julie Manson of UC Irvine.