Oct. 15, 2005
The Gaucho Ladies proved in Terre Haute, IN that they are still contenders for the Big West Championship even with their top four women sitting out. Still not a perfect race for the women, they managed to have their top five women within forty-seven seconds of each other finishing in 22nd out of 34 teams with 585 points in the White Race at the NCAA Pre-National Meet. Michigan won the team competition with 86 points.
Over 6,000m the team averaged a time of 22:21 with Bethany Nickless (So.) clocking the fastest time of the day in 21:49 grabbing 70th place out of 232 athletes. A nice personal best for Nickless, the School Record holder in the 3,000m Steeplechase showed that she could be a strong Cross Country racer as well in her first big meet for the Gauchos of her career.
Arguably the best and most important race leading up to the post season for NCAA Cross Country Championships, most of the top 35 teams were represented along with a slew of others looking to displace those at the top and make a name for themselves. 80 women teams came to Indiana looking for their chance.
Although only an outside shot at breaking into the top 35 teams in the country this year the women nonetheless accomplished what was needed of them for UCSB as they pushed themselves to exhaustion over 6,000m.
Following their race plan well the Gauchos had three women at 10:51 for the 3k mark looking strong. Seanna Martin (Sr.), Hadas Moser (Jr.) and Nickless led the charge. Just six seconds back Leslie Alexander came through the half waypoint in 10:57 while two Freshmen, Danielle Domenichelli and Liza Hitchner went out conservatively in 11:10.
The top three found themselves right around the top 100 women with approximately 2,000m remaining. Nickless, rolled the final 2k catching as many as 25 runners.
Behind her the other women were fighting hard as they battled fatigue. Martin and Moser although not finishing quite as high up as they had planned still hung on for 114th and 125th place racing to times of 22:20 and 22:25. Domenichelli, out of Oak Ridge High School ran her best race of the season finishing as the Gauchos 4th runner in 22:32. Rounding out the top five, Alexander collapsed at the finish in 141st, crossing the tape in 22:36.
A salvage race for some of the Gauchos, as a team they continue to look like a Championship team going into Riverside, CA in two weeks where they will face off against their Big West Rivals. Currently UC Irvine is also a strong contender for the Championship. Long Beach St. may also compete for it, but today they finished 30th with a team average time of 22:35.