Cal Poly Men, UCSB Women Win Big West Cross Country Titles
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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Sean Ricketts led Cal Poly to the Big West Conference men's cross country championship while Stephanie Rothstein helped UC Santa Barbara capture the women's cross country crown Saturday morning at the Cuesta/Fairbanks Memorial Cross Country Course.
Ricketts, a senior who placed third a year ago, won the men's individual title with a time of 25 minutes, 38.2 seconds on an 8,000-meter course and led a 1-2-3 Mustang finish. Junior Ryan Moorcroft was second in 25:38.9 while junior Mario Macias was third in 25:39.3.
Cal Poly, with seven finishers in the top 14, won the men's conference title with 23 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara with 79 points and UC Irvine with 129 points.
On the women's side, Rothstein, 15th as a freshman a year ago, claimed the women's individual title with a time of 22:14.8 for 6,000 meters and led a 1-2-3-4 Gaucho sweep.
Sophomore Lauren Christman was second in 22:27.0 while junior Cosette Smith placed third in 22:36.1 and junior Desiree Leek fourth in 22:44.5.
UC Santa Barbara won the team title for the second time in four years, scoring 27 points. Utah State was second with 66 points while 2002 champion Idaho finished third with 94 points.
Idaho junior Letiwe Marakurwa, last year's conference champion, dropped out of the race Saturday near the three-mile mark complaining of dizziness. She held a 20-yard lead over the rest of the field.
Ricketts and Rothstein were named Big West Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively. Cal Poly men's coach Mark Conover and UC Santa Barbara women's coach Pete Dolan were named Big West Coaches of the Year.
The conference meet was moved from UC Riverside to Cal Poly because of the ongoing wildfires and smoky conditions in Southern California.