Cross Country Championships Return To Carbon Canyon This Weekend
Big West Cross Country Championship Results
The first championship of the 2018-19 Big West season is this weekend as the curtain raises on the Cross Country Championships.
Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea will be the site for this years Championships, returning for the first time since 1997 and for the fourth time overall. The races also mark a bit of history as this is the 50th men’s cross country race and 36th women’s run in PCAA/Big West lore. Cal State Fullerton enjoys the host duties for this year’s festivities with the men running to the line first for the 8K at 8:45 a.m. PT, while the starting gun for the women’s 6K set for 9:30 a.m. PT. Results for the Championships will be available in real time at Finished Results and through the Finished Results App.
The men’s 8K is headlined by two-time defending champion Cal Poly, the current dynasty of Big West men’s cross country. The Mustangs have won the title five times in the last seven years and own a conference-record 15 crowns to their name. This year’s edition figures to be just as tough with seniors Peter Cotsirilos and Mikey Giguere leading the way. The duo was third and fourth, respectively, at the 2017 Championships. Also key for Cal Poly will be sophomore Jake Ritter. He was the top finisher for the club in each of its first three races this season.
UC Santa Barbara enters the race with a unique distinction, they have finished better than their conference rivals at every meet involving Big West schools with the exception of Cal Poly. Sophomore Yousef Baddour leads a consistent group that is comprised of mainly lowerclassmen including classmates Nick Randazzo and Brian Schulz.
Cal State Fullerton looks to upend the Mustang run with the advantage of running on its home course. Senior Sam Pimentel and sophomore Jacob Smith return to lead the Titans, who finished in third a year ago in Riverside.
Aside from the team race, the individual race could be a wide open affair. UC Santa Barbara’s Baddour, UC Irvine’s Hector Garcia and CSUN’s Michael Merchan all could find themselves finishing before their peers on Saturday morning.
The women’s race could come down to a pair of regionally ranked clubs in Cal Poly and homestanding Cal State Fullerton.
The Mustangs have been motivated by a tough loss in last season’s Championships, a two-point defeat to the hands of rival UC Santa Barbara. Junior Miranda Daschian has been the club’s top runner under second-year head coach Priscilla Bayley, leading the way for the pack at both the Covert Classic and Stanford Invitational. Sophomores Abbey Fisk and Sierra Brill also return for the Mustangs after top 20 finishes a year ago. Keep an eye on the return of junior Peyton Bilo who won the individual race in 2016.
CSF is after the first title in program history after finishing third a year ago. The Titans have experience beating the Mustangs and UC Santa Barbara this season, having won the Lagoon Open against the two in mid-September. The club is led by junior Samantha Huerta and sophomore Trinity Ruelas. A year ago Huerta’s fourth place finish was the best by a Titan since 1994 and tied for the second-best finish at the Conference Championships in program lore.
BIG WEST CELEBRATING 50/35
The 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary for men’s sports in the Big West Conference, and the 35th for women’s. All season long, the Big West Conference will celebrate the history of all conference sports. Join us as we pay homage to the student-athletes, coaches, staffs, communities and fans who have helped pave the way.
• Vince O’Boyle ran one of the most successful programs in Big West history, the UC Irvine women’s cross country team. O’Boyle was at the helm of the program from 1982-2013, shepherding the program from independent to Big West power. He won 12 league titles, 12 Coach of the Year honors and coached 12 Athlete of the Year recipients. All of those achievements are the most by a coach in Big West history.
• UC Irvine established the first dynasty in women’s cross country history, winning the first five titles and nine of the first 10. The 1984 Anteater squad is also the only team in Big West women’s cross country Championship history to post a perfect score of 15. In all, UCI won 11 of the first 20 titles in league history.
Humble Beginnings: A Dynasty Born From Opportunity
FOLLOW ALONG ALL SEASON