Oct. 15, 2006
The UC Santa Barbara Women improved on there already historic season with a 4th place finish in the White race in Terre Haute, Indiana at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Julia Lucas of North Carolina State won the race, leading her team to a victory with 117 points. Not at a 100%, the women still managed to have their top three women finish in the top 20 among 253 of the best runners in the country and finished with 196 points.
The team was led by Senior Lauren Christman's (Santa Cruz, CA/Harbor HS) clocking of 20:28 for ninth place over the 6,000 meter course. Christman was followed closely by sister, Senior Lindsay Christman (Santa Cruz, CA/Harbor HS) in 20:36 and Senior Stephanie Rothstein (Phoenix, AZ/Xavier HS) in 20:40 who finished in 16th and 20th place, respectively. This was the highest finish ever at Pre-Nationals for the Gauchos, justifying the womens No. 8 ranking. This showing improves upon the 8th place finish in Terre Haute in 2004 en route to a No. 17 ranking.
Indiana played host to 23 of the NCAA's top 30 teams in what is considered the most crucial race of the year prior to the post season. Along the way to their 4th place showing UCSB defeated 9 nationally ranked teams including No. 2 Colorado, No. 14 Washington, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Illinois, No. 22 Colorado State, No. 23 Georgetown, No. 24 Tennessee, No. 27 Villanova and No. 29 Butler. Also in the race was conference foe Long Beach State finishing 27th.
With Junior Megan Lewis out due to injury and Rothstein feeling under the weather, the Gaucho Women went out with a conservative race plan and were helped by breakout cross country performances from Senior Hadas Moser (Irvine, CA/University HS) and Sophomore Danielle Domenichelli (El Dorado Hills, CA/Oak Ridge HS). Moser (21:31) and Domenichelli (21:32) finished in 75th and 76th respectively. This performance placed Moser 39 places ahead of last years showing and Domenichelli 49 places up from last year.
The trio of Christman, La., Christman, Li., and Rothstein came through the mile in 70th place while Moser and Domenichelli were joined by Junior Bethany Nickless (Fountain Valley, CA/Fountain Valley HS) and Sophomore Liza Hitchner (Half Moon Bay, CA/Half Moon Bay HS) in 130th at the mile. Moving up throughout the rest of the race the top 5 women passed at least 50 runners as Hitchner (21:40) finishing in 91st place passed 40 runners while Nickless (21:45) in 102nd passed her own share moving up at least 30 places.
The women next compete at the Big West Cross Country Championship October 28th at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The women are in top form heading into the conference championships and are heavy favorites to win their third Big West Title in four years.