Big West Announces Cross Country Yearly Awards
2015 Big West Cross Country Awards
The 2015 edition of the cross country awards had a Cal Poly flavor as the Mustangs claimed three of the six major honors.
Two of those three honors came on the women’s side as Mark Conover won Women’s Coach of the Year and Peyton Bilo was named the Women’s Freshman of the Year. Cal Poly also claimed the Men’s Freshman of the Year as Garrett Migliozzi earned the prestigious honor. UC Santa Barbara earned two of the remaining three awards as Bryan Guijarro repeated as the Men’s Athlete of the Year, while his coach Pete Dolan also claimed the Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive season. UC Riverside’s Faith Makau was named the Women’s Athlete of the Year, the second year in a row that a UCR athlete claimed the top women’s honor.
Guijarro, a senior from Lancaster, Calif., is the first men’s Gaucho runner to earn multiple Athlete of the Year honors in a career. The two-time Big West Athlete of the Week started his senior season with an 8K victory in the UCSB Lagoon Open, crossing the finish in 24:55. Guijarro also put up one of the most impressive results of the 2015 campaign at the Pre-National Invitational. He ran the 8K course in 23:46 for 32nd place, leading the Gauchos to a 10th place finish in a field loaded with nationally-ranked clubs. Guijarro also won the Big West title for the second straight season, running the 8K in 24:01 to lead UCSB to its second consecutive team title.
Makau, a sophomore from Modesto, Calif., is the second Women’s Athlete of the Year award winner in Highlander history, joining former teammate Raquel Hefflin who won the award a year ago. Makau, who was named last season’s Freshman of the Year, started the year strong with a time of 14:50 across the 4K, the best time she has put up in a 4K race and 37 seconds faster than her result the previous season. Makau also claimed the individual title at the Highlander Invitational, completing the 5K in 17:17.63. Just two weeks after that event, Makau claimed the individual title at the Big West Championship, winning the 6K event in 20:27.50. That time was 20 seconds better than her finish a year ago during her freshman campaign.
Migliozzi, who is a native of Grass Valley, was a key runner for the Mustangs all season. His regular season was highlighted by a season-best 8K time of 24:22.6 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet. He continued his fine season at the Big West Championships, coming in sixth overall with an 8K time of 24:25.50. He was the top freshman finisher among all runners in the event. In all, Migliozzi ran in five races during his redshirt freshman campaign, including a top 40 time at the Stanford Invitational in 24:35.8.
Bilo, who hails from El Dorado Hills, was a leader for Cal Poly in her first season at the collegiate level. Bilo’s first race was a 17:56.56 effort in the 5K at the UCSB Lagoon Open. After a fifth place effort at the Fresno State Invitational, Bilo was the top finisher in each of the Mustangs’ last three races, culminating in a second place finish in 20:36.87 in the 6K at the Big West Championship. Bilo also claimed a weekly honor as she took home the Big West Athlete of the Week award after finishing 7th in the 6K at the Stanford Invitational in 20:56.0.
Dolan led the UC Santa Barbara to its second consecutive men’s title, the first school other than Cal Poly to win consecutive men’s championships since Utah State from 1992-94. The Gauchos were a well oiled machine this season, starting strong with a win in the UCSB Lagoon Open and finishing with a championship at the league meet. UCSB put up an impressive showing at the Pre-National meet, finishing 10th in the 42-team seeded race. This is the fifth Coach of the Year honor for Dolan on the men’s side.
Conover led Cal Poly to its third women’s championship in four years and fifth overall. The Mustangs, who are currently rank eighth in the West Region, had four different runners finish atop their leaderboard over their six races this season. Using their pack running method, Cal Poly had five runners finish in the top 11 at the Big West Championship, including three in the top nine. Conover has now won the Women’s Coach of the Year award three times in the last four seasons and has coached the Freshman of the Year four times in the last five seasons.
2015 Men’s Athlete of the Year - Bryan Guijarro, UC Santa Barbara
2015 Men’s Freshman of the Year - Garrett Migliozzi, Cal Poly
2015 Men’s Coach of the Year - Pete Dolan, UC Santa Barbara
2015 Women’s Athlete of the Year - Faith Makau, UC Riverside
2015 Women’s Freshman of the Year - Peyton Bilo, Cal Poly
2015 Women’s Coach of the Year - Mark Conover, Cal Poly