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Cross Country

CSF, UCI Set to Compete in Mustang Challenge in Light Weekend

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Only two Big West cross country squads will be in action this weekend, a light schedule prior to two of the big race meet weekends of the 2013 season.

Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine will join 21 other teams at the Mustang Challenge in Santa Clarita, Calif. The event will consist of a 5K on the women’s side and an 8K men’s race.

• As we near the end of the first full month of competition, UC Santa Barbara’s Dani Moreno has already established herself as a contender on the women’s side. On the league leaderboard, Moreno owns the second-best 5K (17:25.50) and the best 6K time (20:23.42).

• Long Beach State freshmen Emilio Nunez and Kevin Ramirez are having an impressive debut season for the black and gold. Both have been among the top three finishers for the 49ers with Nunez crossing the finish first for the LBSU contingent at the Pepperdine Invitational. Nunez’ time at the Pepperdine Invitational of 25:07.59 is 10th-best in the league for an 8K run, while Ramirez also ran a sub 26:00 after crossing the finish in 25:52.18.

• Of the top 10 men’s 8K times, only three athletes do not run for Cal Poly or UC Santa Barbara but two are familiar with one another. UC Riverside teammates Benjamin Heck and Cody Jordan join the aforementioned Emilio Nunez of LBSU in the top 10. Heck is ranked fifth at 24:45.08), while Jordan is ninth with a best time of 25:01.31. Heck is also one of seven runners, and the only not to be a Mustang or Gaucho, to have run a sub 25:00 8K so far this season.

• After five consecutive seasons, Big West Cross Country Championships will move from Riverside to San Luis Obispo. Fairbanks Cross Country Course will host the championship meet, the same site that hosted the event back in 2007. During that championship, the Cal Poly men won their fifth straight title thanks to a clean sweep of the first five positions. UC Santa Barbara took the women’s title, its fourth in five seasons.