Women Prepare for Pre-Nationals
Oct. 14, 2005
Coming off a three-week break after the Stanford Invitational, the Gauchos head to Terre Haute, IN for the Pre-Nationals meet. Three weeks ago the women took down conference rivals Long Beach St. and UC Irvine asserting them as a favorite for the Big West Championship as they look toward Saturday to continue their success at the La Verne Gibson Cross Country Course over 6,000m.
One of the major Invitationals of the year, this year's Pre-Nationals will feature eighty Div. I women's programs, including twenty-six of the top thirty five teams split into two races vying for valuable points toward a berth at the National Championships on November 21st. In order to qualify for the National Championships a team must either do one of two things.
It may grab one of two automatic qualifying spots by finishing first or second at the Regional race (9 regions) or it may be one of thirteen teams to qualify at-large. In order to qualify at-large a team must earn points by beating another team from another region who qualifies automatically to the National Championships. A committee than goes around the country with the Regional results in hand and selects its 13 teams for the NCAA Div. I Championships.
With so many teams from different regions in Terre Haute this weekend it has become the most important meet for these potential "at-large" teams and provide a sneak peak at what may be in store at Cross Country Nationals.
Announced on Wednesday night, the Gauchos landed the White Race to go off at 12:55pm Central time. Scheduled to compete in their race are eight teams ranked in the top 25. Currently an outside shot at making the field of 31 at Nationals, the lady Gauchos may look to #26 Boston College ranked 2nd in the Northeast, #35 Colorado St ranked 4th in the Mountain, #25 Marquette ranked 5th in the Great Lakes, and #34 Vanderbilt ranked 3rd in the South to potentially.
Toeing the line for UCSB will be veterans Leslie Alexander (Sr.), Christie Farson (Jr.), Seanna Martin (Sr.), Hadas Moser (Jr.) and Bethany Nickless (So.). Two freshmen, Danielle Domenichelli out of Oak Ridge H.S. and Liza Hitchner from Half Moon Bay H.S. will look to provide valuable support to the squad. Returning from last year's Pre-National race is Moser who finished 119th in 22:23 for 6,000 meters.
The Gauchos in 2004 finished 8th in the White Race which catapulted them as high as 14th in the country in the National FinishLynx poll. Lauren Christman (Sr.) led the Gauchos coming across the line in 14th place in a time of 20:57. Four of the Gauchos top runners including La. Christman are currently running unattached possibly red shirting the 2005 season.