Oct. 29, 2005
The Gaucho Women held onto 2nd place at the Big West Championships this morning at the Agricultural Operations Course on UC Riverside's campus. Hoping for their third Conference title in a row even without four of their top women on the line, the Gauchos came up short versus UC Irvine who won their first title since 1999. UCSB nonetheless took home two All-Conference award finishers and had a pair of freshmen finish in the top twenty.
As the gun went off at 9am, the Women found themselves running a fast first mile for the second year in a row on the 6,000 meter course. Camy of Northridge, Martinez of UCR and Kramon of Long Beach went through the mile in 5:25. The Gaucho ladies came through at 5:35 in the chase pack along with a group of UCI runners. What appeared would be a fight to the finish between UCI and UCSB became a one-team race, as the Gauchos could not respond to the Anteaters this morning as they entered the second and third miles.
Bethany Nickless (So.) one of the favorites for the individual title was fighting an off day along with Senior Seanna Martin back in tenth place. Other veterans, Leslie Alexander (Sr.) and Hadas Moser (Jr.) were also fighting hard to maintain themselves in the top twenty as they fought off each athlete. Back in the twenty's a pair of freshmen, Danielle Domenichelli out of Oak Ridge H.S. and Liza Hitchner of Half Moon Bay were executing their race plan as they picked off athlete after athlete going into the last mile.
Nickless and Martin worked together as they attempted to move up through the field the last mile. Never quite making it up to the lead pack, they managed to move up to 5th and 7th respectively obtaining their first All-Conference finish of their careers in times of 21:23 and 21:27. Picking it up over the last mile, the freshmen duo of Domenichelli and Hitchner moved into 15th and 16th finishing just under 22 minutes as the Gauchos' 3rd and 4th runners. Their effort was enough to keep the Gauchos from falling back into third behind Long Beach St.
Rounding out the top five for UCSB, Alexander would wind up 23rd in 22:15 as she ran in her last Conference Championships. The Gauchos totaled up 66 points to Long Beach's 75 and the eventual winners UCI who ended with 29.
Combining the women's finish with the men's effort, the UCSB program can still boast of the best overall performance with both teams averaging second place.
UCSB will travel next to Palo Alto, CA to compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships, being held at the Stanford Campus Golf Course on Saturday, November 12th. Earlier in the 2005 season, UCSB finished ahead of UCI at the Stanford Invitational. The Gauchos were 3rd a year ago at the West Regionals in a season in which they finished 17th in the country, a team which included four of the women red-shirting the current 2005 season.