Major Meets Headline Cross Country Slate
Big West Cross Country Weekly Release No. 4
The first big race weekend of the 2015 season is coming as several meets will test the early season mettle of the Big West cross country clubs.
Six clubs will participate in the prestigious Stanford Invitational this weekend. Cal Poly, CSUN, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara will be among 37 colleges competing in the 42nd annual race. The men will run an 8K, while the women’s will participate in a 6K. The competition will be crowded at 3,3,97 runners have declared for the event.
Long Beach State may not be traveling to the Bay Area but they will compete in another big event in the nation’s heartland. The 49er runners will compete in the Roy Griak Invitational, a race hosted by the University of Minnesota. The 30th edition of this race will carry a bit more significance as eight inductees will be honored in the inaugural class of the Roy Griak Hall of Fame. The 49ers will also send a squad to the Coyote Classic in San Bernardino to wrap up a busy weekend.
Don’t forget to turn your attention to the islands to catch Hawai’i in action. The ‘Bows are in action at the BYU-Hawai’i Invitational. The event will be on the picturesque north shore on the campus of BYU-Hawai’i in La’ie. UH will participate in the women’s 5K in their return to competition following a ninth place showing at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle last weekend.
• Hawai’i earned its first cross country weekly award since 2011 last week as Camille Campos was named the Athlete of the Week. The freshman from Bakersfield finished in 35th at the Sundodger Invitational in 22:14.83, the first 6K she has run in her collegiate career. This marks the first time UH has claimed a weekly honor as a member of the Big West as the previous honor came as a member of the WAC.
• Last week the UC Irvine women came in 10th at the Mustang Invitational, while their counterparts were 15th. The women were led by freshman Lisa Vasquez who completed the 5K in 18:52.02. The ‘Eater men finished 15th in the competition led by junior Jake Williams. The junior wrapped up the 8K in 27:08.13 to lead the UCI contingent.
• Several Big West clubs are listed among the top teams in the region. On the men’s side, UC Santa Barbara leads the way with an 10th place ranking, while Cal Poly comes in at No. 11. The women’s regional rankings has UC Davis as the highest ranked Big West team at eighth, with Cal Poly at 11th.
• After thirty-plus years as a coach, including the last dozen with the Highlanders, UC Riverside Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Irv Ray, announced that he is retiring from intercollegiate coaching. Associate Head Coach Nate Browne, who has been with the program since 2003, will take over the program on an interim basis.
Ray was instrumental in UCR’s ascension to the top of the Big West as the year prior to Ray’s arrival on the Riverside campus, the women’s cross country team finished ninth in the conference and the men’s team finished eighth. Five years later, the women’s team hoisted the 2008 Big West Conference Championship trophy, and the men came within two points of a second place finish. That 2008 women’s title was capped by Ray being named the Big West Coach of the Year.