2010 Edition of Big West Cross Country Championships On Tap
The long wait is over for the first championship of the 2010-11 collegiate sports season as the Big West Cross Country Championships will take center stage this Saturday. For the third consecutive year, the conference meet will be hosted by UC Riverside at the Riverside Ag/Ops Course in Riverside, Calif.
The meet will kick off with the women's 6K at 8:45 am, while the men’s 8K will follow at 9:30 am. Event parking for spectators will be in Lot 30, on the northwest corner of Canyon Crest and Martin Luther King (once on MLK, Lot 30 is on your left prior to Canyon Crest). The parking fee will be $5 per car.
Admission to the 2010 Big West Cross Country Championships will be $5 per person over five years old. Free admission for Big West students and children under five.
The UC Santa Barbara women are looking for back-to-back titles for the first time since the 2006-07 seasons, but much like the preseason poll predicted, the challenge will be great. The Gauchos are led by Amanda Moreno, Crystal Reed and Breanne Strenkowski, three runners who finished in the top 10 for UCSB's 2009 championship team. Moreno has been the leader all season for the Gauchos as she posted the best 5K and 6K times in the Big West this season.
The teams looking to dethrone UC Santa Barbara are plentiful as UC Davis, Cal Poly, Long Beach State and UC Riverside all could hoist the hardware. The Aggies finished second a year ago and welcome back veterans Abbey Gallaher and Caitlin Fitzgerald, while the Mustangs have been rising thanks to the leadership of Kayleigh Tyerman and Vanessa Hancock. The 49ers have had impressive results thus far this season, led by Rosa Del Toro and Jennifer Rodriguez, while the Highlanders are sure to run well on their home course, led by Damajeria Dubose and Katy Daly.
On the men's side, Cal Poly has held a monopoly on the Big West title as the Mustangs have won the past seven conference championships and own a league record 10 crowns. Cal Poly was hit hard by graduation but returns a 2009 top 10 finisher in Carl Dargitz as well as talented youngsters Michael Johnson, Sean Davidson and Chris Frias. The team is also coming off an impressive 16th place finish at the Pre-National two weeks ago.
The challengers on the men's side are plentiful as UC Davis, host UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara have had stellar fall seasons. The Aggies, who finished in third a year ago, are led by Jon Peterson and Jon Sees. Both of them have top five 8K times this year and Peterson finished in seventh. The homestanding Highlanders have had a successful fall season to date, highlighted by three second place finishes in four meets to date. The club is led by Chad Hall, who posted the best 8K time this season by almost 21 seconds, and finished fourth at last season's Championship. The squad is also bolstered by the addition of youngsters such as Talal Khan and Seth Totten as they look to bring home the first men’s title in program history. Meanwhile UC Santa Barbara boasts a solid collection of talent led by Andrew Pilavjian, Doug Whichard, Jeremy Acosta and Juan Paredes, all three of which recorded 8K times that rank in the top 10 in the league this season.