Stretch Run Begins For Cross Country Clubs
Big West Cross Country Weekly Release No. 5
Three clubs will open the October slate this weekend, beginning the stretch run to the Big West Championships at the end of the month.
Cal State Fullerton is slated for double duty this weekend as the Titans will send runners to the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational in Claremont and the Rim Rock Farm Classic in Lawrence, Kan. The other two teams in competition will be going to the same meet as UC Davis and Hawai’i will compete at the Hornet Jamboree in Sacramento.
• The Cal Poly men’s and women’s teams both earned top-three finishes at the 42nd annual Stanford Cross Country Invitational.
The Mustang men finished third with 97 points, led by junior Swarnjit Boyal’s eight place finish after the 8K in 24:01.1. Boyal’s time was part of a tight pack of runners in the top 10 as he finished just 54 seconds behind the top finisher. It also marked the third straight race that Boyal finished as Cal Poly’s top runner.
On the women’s side, Cal Poly’s 65 points was second only to nationally-ranked Stanford’s 44 points among the 30 teams in action. Freshman Peyton Bilo led the team, and all Big West runners, with a seventh place finish after running the 6K in 20:56.0. She led a pack of runners that also picked up two other top 15 finishers in sophomores Molly Haar (13th - 21:12.7) and Sydney Szabo (14th - 21:14.7).
• There were several other top performances at the Stanford Invitational around the league. In the men’s race, UC Riverside’s Cody Jordan finished 10th in 24:04.4, the only non-Cal Poly runner to post a top 10 finish. UC Irvine’s Isaiah Thompson (12th - 24:08.9) was the only other league runner outside of the Mustangs to post a top 20 finish.
Two Big West runners outside of Cal Poly also finished in the top 20 in the women’s 6K. Faith Makau of UC Riverside was 19th in 21:19.3, while UC Davis’ Erika Barr came in 20th at 21:22.6.
• 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 and Long Beach State at No. 14. The women’s regional rankings has Cal Poly as the highest ranked Big West team at eighth, with UC Davis at 13th.
• 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.