Nov. 12, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. - The UCSB women's cross country team finished second at the NCAA West Regional, the highest regional finish in team history, and automatically qualified to the NCAA Championships yesterday. The men's team finished seventh and were given an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships today based on their season long consistency.
The Gaucho women, ranked 7th in the latest USTFCCCA Division I Women's Top 30 Poll, placed 6 runners in the top 32, holding off 8th ranked Arizona State for the final automatic qualifier. #1 ranked Stanford were the team champions with 42 points, UCSB finished with 72 while ASU had 83. Senior Lauren Christman (Santa Cruz, CA/Harbor HS) was first across the line for the Santa Barbara finishing in 5 th (21:17), the highest individual placing in team history, earning her All-Region honors for the third time.
Christman wasn't alone in her All-Region honors as her sister senior Lindsay Christman (Santa Cruz, CA/Harbor HS), senior Stephanie Rothstein ( Phoenix, AZ/Xavier HS) and junior Megan Lewis (Tracy, CA/Tracy HS) joined her. Christman, Li. finished 10th (21:36) just ahead of Rothstein in 14th (21:43) and Lewis in 15 th (21:46). Sophomore Danielle Domenichelli (El Dorado Hills, CA/Oak Ridge HS) the final scoring runner finished just outside the top 25 and All-Region in 28th (22:13) followed by junior Bethany Nickless (Fountain Valley, CA/Fountain Valley HS) in 32nd (22:22) and senior Hadas Moser (Irvine, CA/University HS) in 60th (22:56).
A cold and wet Saturday in Portland saw the Gauchos welcome back Rothstein who had sat out the Big West Conference meet due to illness. The senior was the difference between a 2nd place, automatic bid and a 3rd place, waiting on an at-large bid.
The Gauchos will return to the big show on Monday, November 20th, in Terre Haute, IN. It marks the Gauchos third trip in four years with their highest finish coming in 2004 with a 17 th place finish.
On the men's side, a disappointing 7th place team finish left them waiting to here from the NCAA committee whether their season long successes would be enough to grant them an at-large berth. With a system as complicated as the BCS, it was felt that only six would get out of the West Region. However, a deep West in 2006 also gave them hope, especially in light of the 2004 season when the Great Lakes Region took nine teams.
Selection Sunday was everything they had hoped with the official word coming in the early afternoon that the Gauchos were granted an at-large berth. They would be making there first National Championship appearance since 2001 and the first time in Coach Dolan's career that he would be taking both men's and women's squads to the big dance.
Senior J.D. Krawczyk(Huntington Beach, CA/Marina HS) ran the race of his life to finish 7th and match the highest finish ever by a male Gaucho at Regionals. Krawczyk found himself among a litany of All-Americans and excepted the challenge, finishing in a time of 30:28 an All-Region performance. Also earning All-Region honors was Senior Mike Chavez ( Anaheim, CA/Esperanza HS) came from way back after a bad start had him sitting in 100th at the mile. A steady move through the field gave the Gauchos a chance to qualify for Nationals as he climbed all the way to finish 14th in a time of 30:35.
The Gauchos will be joined by 9 other teams from the NCAA West Region, a NCAA record-tying statistic for most teams in the championship from one region. The twenty-second ranked UCSB men finished with 170 points as #6 Oregon won the men's race with 69 points, followed by #7 Stanford (2nd/88 points), #9 ranked Portland (3rd/123), unranked Washington (4th/139), #24 Arizona (5th/156) and unranked UCLA (6th/167). Unranked Washington State (8th/201) was pushed in by #19Cal Poly (9th/220) who were the ninth and final team to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The Gauchos will return to the big show on Monday, November 20th, in Terre Haute, IN. In 2001, UCSB's first appearance at an NCAA X-Country National Championship, the Men finished 17 th with senior Josh Horton obtaining All-American status with his 17th place individual performance.