October 30, 2013

Gaucho Cross Country Conference Preview

UCSB Cross Country
Big West Championship Preview

When: November 2nd, 2013

Where: Fairbanks Memorial Cross Country Course
San Luis Obispo, CA
Admission is FREE

How it's scored:
Nine participants per team with the top five scoring;
Next two participants can displace other teams top-five finishers and spread out the scoring.

 

Cross Country History: You would have to go back to 1985 to find a Gaucho cross country team not coached by Pete Dolan. His teams have combined to win 10 Big West Cross Country team titles and he has mentored 9 individual Big West Cross Country Champions.
Perhaps the finest team performance came in 2006 when the UCSB women placed 9th at the NCAA Championships.

Gaucho Men Rolling: After a fierce shoot out against Cal Poly in the Lagoon Race here at UCSB, the Gaucho men have been on a roll. They Won the Riverside Invitational by capturing the 4-5-6 slots and would go on to place five in top 25. Recently, they took 2nd in Santa Clara Bronco Invite just two points shy of Loyola Marymount in the loaded 18 team field. They also battled to a third place showing against another solid field at the Regional Preview in Sacramento, yet again placing five in the top-25. Tyler Brady and Shyan Vaziri, both 1,500m specialists on the track have been steadily building steam this fall. Vaziri established a new 8k PR of 25:01 at the Riverside Invitational. Brady threw down a new 8k PR in Sacramento at the Regional Preview in 24:30, running side-by-side with Brian Guijarro.

Guijarro is Back on the Scene: 2012 Big West Cross Country Freshman of the Year Brian Guijarro donned the Gaucho blue for the first time in 2013 after recovering from an early season injury. In 2012, Guijarro ran to a 5th place showing at the Big West Cross Country Championships. He seems to have found his stride as of late. He traded off the lead at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite and went on to break the tape in 7th place with an 8k time of 23:57, the fastest UCSB time this year over that distance. A side note: his fastest 8k time of 2012 was 24:22.  Last spring he placed third and fifth in the Big West Track and Field Championships in the 10,000m and 5,000m respectively. His 10,000m season's best of 29:41.04 earned him a bid into the NCAA West Regional Meet.

Women Quickly Improving: The UCSB Women's Cross Country team has steadily improved each week as the young group continues to develop. A team usually dominated by a large senior presence, this year's women's cross country team has only one runner who is a senior (Jessica Chadwick). The Gauchos made an early impression at the Riverside Invitational by placing four in the top-10 and winning with a total of 31 points. They would go onto place second at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite. Their success can be traced to a good summer training block where every woman increased her training volume from previous years. Maxine Goyette is another runner who has been enjoying a tremendous fall. She already has three top-10 finishes this year to go along with a new 6k PR of 20:52 set in Santa Clara. Keep an eye on the trio of Sara Schreck , Bailey Miller and Jessica Chadwick who placed 22nd, 36th and 41st  at last year's Cross Country Championship.

Hangin' with Dani and Coop: Dani Moreno and Christine Cooperstein have been a potent 1-2 punch for the Gaucho women all season. They placed 1-2 at the Riverside Invitational and 2-3 at the Lagoon Open. Both are riding high after the spring track and field season where they developed their distinct running chemistry. They placed 2-3 at the Big West Championships in the 5,000m and haven't let each other go since. Moreno went on to the NCAA West Regional Championships in the 10,000m and took 14th place. On the track, Cooperstein clocked a 16:46.98 5,000m at last year's Mt. Sac Relays to establish a new lifetime best.

Anthony Ortolan, New Kid on the Block: After setting a new UCSB 8k Lagoon Open home course record in the first meet of the season, Sophomore Anthony Ortolan is in the middle of a break-through year. His Lagoon record of 24:21.90 also gave Ortolan his first collegiate cross country victory. Ortolan is no stranger to performing in big meets, dating back in his prep days at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill he had finishes of 6th at Mt. Sac and 24th at the CIF State Cross Country Championships his senior year.

Boys of Summer: Bryce Rausa and Andrew Farkas, familiar faces in the 3,000m Steeplechase in the Spring have built on their 2013 track season by increasing their summer training and as a result, both have had stellar campaigns this fall cross country season.  Rausa and Farkas helped propel the Gaucho Men to a Riverside Course victory earlier this season placing 5th and 6th respectively. Their times of 24:35 and 24:37 were separated by less than 3 seconds. At the Regional Preview in Sacramento, the Boys of Summer were at it again: this time Rausa placing 18th in 24:09 to Farkas' 20th in 24:14, a difference of 1 second per mile. 

Coaches Take:

"The men's team figured out this sport over the summer.  Based on the West Region Poll, they are ranked 3rd in the Big West.  Seeing what I have seen so far this season third would be a disappointment.  This team is ready for Saturday." 

"The women's team is very solid in our top 3 spots, Moreno, Cooperstein and Goyette.  After that we will need some Gauchos to rise up if we are going to pull any upsets this Saturday."
Head Coach Pete Dolan

 

"They all just need to focus on their race and go a little beyond what they've done this season. If they do, both teams will be in position to pull something really special off."
Assistant Coach Amanda Moreno