October 31, 2008

Cross Country Ready to Compete in Big West Championships

Oct. 31, 2008

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. --The Gaucho cross country squad will compete in the Big West Conference Championships at the UCR Agricultural Operations Course this Saturday, Nov. 1. The women's 6k race will take place at 8:30 a.m., followed by the men's 8k race at 9:30 a.m.

The men's race is Cal Poly's to lose, as they are currently ranked 23rd in the nation and have a very strong squad. Their biggest challengers will be UCSB, UC Davis, and UC Riverside.

"Our guys need to have a good race to gain confidence for Regionals," said Gaucho assistant coach Avery Blackwell. "We're starting to get fitter and more race-savvy."

Chad Hall of UC Riverside is probably the favorite to win the men's individual title. Scott Smith is the top individual threat for the Gauchos, and he should be in the front of the pack battling for the individual title. He was the top UCSB finisher at last season's conference championships, where he took seventh.

Julian DeRubira and Waleed Totari are also among the top runners in the conference, and they will be looking to finish in the top 10. deRubira was ninth in last season's conference meet.

UC Davis holds the highest ranking on the women's side, and they are led by Kim Conley. UC Irvine's Laura Olvera and UCSB's Danielle Domenichelli will be battling with Conley for the individual conference title. Domenichelli was fifth in last season's championships.

"Danielle is eying the individual title," said Blackwell. "She'll have some good competition from Conley and Olvera, and it will be a battle to the finish."

Senior Ashley Ramirez and sophomore Katie Voigtlander will also be looking to run well and keep the points low for the Gauchos. Freshman Ashley Beechan has had a good freshman season and should be a key contributor as well.

At last season's Conference Championships, the Gaucho women won the team title and the men finished second. The women were led by a one-two finish from Megan Lewis and Bethany Nickless. Cal Poly won the men's title, which was their fifth straight crown.

-- UCSBGauchos.com --