November 19, 2007

Gauchos Finish 19th at NCAA Championships

Nov. 19, 2007

Women's Team Results Get Acrobat Reader

Women's Individual Results Get Acrobat Reader

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The UCSB women's cross country squad closed out their season with a top-20 result at the NCAA Championships. The Gauchos completed the race with 449 points to place 19th.

"This was another good performance," said assistant coach Avery Blackwell. "We were hoping to finish in the top-20, and the team came through with a strong finish. Everyone ran a good race, and we're proud of the season that we came away with."

Bethany Nickless was 66th overall with a time of 21:19, and Megan Lewis was 68th with a time of 21:20. They stayed close to each other throughout the entire race and had identical split-times at the 2k and 4k checkpoints. The course was 6 kilometers long, which is approximately 4 miles.

Danielle Domenichelli was the next to cross the line for UCSB, clocking-in at 21:33 to place 101st. Liza Hitchner was 143rd with a time of 21:52. Freshman Breanne Strenkowski ran a 22:34 to place 211th, and was the final UCSB scorer with a team-adjusted position of 173rd. Also competing were Alyssa Brown (242nd, 23:23) and Ashley Ramirez (248th, 23:34). There were a total of 255 competitors and 31 teams in the race.

The women's race was dominated by Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego, who led the entire course and broke away from the pack after the second kilometer. Kipyego became the first back-to-back winner since North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan won consecutive titles in 2002 and 2003. Colorado's Jenny Barringer and Florida State's Susan Kuijken finished in second and third respectively, but they were unable to match Kipyego's pace and crossed the line more than 17 seconds behind.

Stanford took home the team title for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in five years. The Cardinal finished with 145 team points, ahead of second-place Oregon with 177 points. Florida State took third thanks to the strong outing from Kuijken, as they edged Arizona State by a mere 15 points.

The men's 10k race was held before the women's race, and the crowd witnessed a duel between Oregon's Galen Rupp and Liberty's Josh McDougal. The two battled back and forth over the last 2 kilometers, with both runners trading attacks and attempting to wear the other down. Rupp surged past McDougal in the final 600 meters, but McDougal was able to out-kick Rupp to the finish line and capture his first individual title with a time of 29:22. Rupp trailed by just one second.

Oregon captured their first men's team title since 1977, finishing with 85 points. Iona was second with 113 points, and Oklahoma State was third with 180 points.

The event was held at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center for the fourth-straight year. The course is known for being meticulously maintained all year-round, and for having a good mix of flats and hills. The weeks leading up to this race were blessed with good weather and little rainfall, leaving the course firm and dry. Last year's race was held in rainy, muddy conditions.

The meet attracted thousands of fans and was televised nationally for the first time in history. For fans who didn't get a chance to see the race live, it will be replayed tonight at 8 p.m. PST on CSTV.