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Cross Country

Busy Weekend On Tap For Harriers


Big West Cross Country Weekly Release No. 7

Big West cross country returns with a major weekend on tap, which includes two clubs hosting meets, as the league counts down the days until the Championships at the end of the month.

Cal Poly and UC Riverside will welcome all comers to their home courses as the Cal Poly Invitational and the Highlander Invitational take place this weekend. Cal State Fullerton, CSUN and UC Irvine will also compete in the Highlander Invitational, giving them another chance to compete on the course that will host the Big West Championships later this month.

Aside from the teams hosting meets, the Pre-National meet is also this weekend, giving clubs around the country a chance to run on the course that will host the NCAA Championships. Prestigious clubs from around the country will decend upon Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., for the men’s 8K and women’s 6K. Among the participants will be runners from Cal Poly, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara.

To wrap up the busy weekend, some league clubs will take a trip to Boise, Id., for the Bronco Invitational. UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i will send squads to the Boise State-hosted event.

• Hawai’i had another strong performance last week, its final appearance on the islands this season. UH won the Chaminade Invite with a season-best score of 27 points, led by sophomore Montana Martinez. Martinez, the Big West Athlete of the Week, finished in second place with a time of 18:23.4 over the 5K, the highest finish by a ‘Bows runner this season and the first time Martinez has led the club in 2015.

• Several Big West clubs are listed among the top teams in the region. On the men’s side, Cal Poly leads the way with an 10th place ranking, while Long Beach State comes in at No. 12 and UC Santa Barbara at No. 13. The women’s regional rankings has Cal Poly as the highest ranked Big West team at ninth, with UC Davis at 13th.

• After thirty-plus years as a coach, including the last dozen with the Highlanders, UC Riverside Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Irv Ray, announced that he is retiring from intercollegiate coaching. Associate Head Coach Nate Browne, who has been with the program since 2003, will take over the program on an interim basis.

Ray was instrumental in UCR’s ascension to the top of the Big West as the year prior to Ray’s arrival on the Riverside campus, the women’s cross country team finished ninth in the conference and the men’s team finished eighth. Five years later, the women’s team hoisted the 2008 Big West Conference Championship trophy, and the men came within two points of a second place finish. That 2008 women’s title was capped by Ray being named the Big West Coach of the Year.