Cross Country Championships Head to Hawaii This Weekend
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2016 Big West Cross Country Championship Central
The conference meet returns to the islands as Hawai’i hosts the 2016 Big West Cross Country Championships at Kahuku Golf Course on the North Shore of O’ahu.
The Aloha State hosts the league Championship for the first time since 1992, while UH hosts its first conference meet since the WAC Championship of 2011. The race schedule will have the men’s 8K being run at 7:00am HT (10:00am PT), while the women’s 6K race is scheduled to begin at 7:45am HT (10:45am PT).
The men’s race could once again see a familiar hue of green at the top as the Cal Poly men have put together a solid season. Currently ranked #10 in the West Region, the Mustangs are led by junior Clayton Hutchins and senior Swarnjit Boyal. Hutchins has run a top 8K time of 23:30.9 this season, while Boyal has registered a top effort of 23:22.8.
The duo will look to lead the Mustangs back to the top of the Big West, a spot currently owned by two-time defending champion UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos, ranked #14 in the West Region, are led by senior Adam Avila, who registered an 8K-career best 23:36.4 earlier this season. Junior George Baier is also a top performer for UCSB, picking up a sub 24-minute 8K earlier this season at 23:51.8.
The men’s race should also deliver plenty of competition from Cal State Fullerton, a squad that has finished in the top two in four of its five races this season. The Titans are led by senior Jose Penaloza (24:42.3) and freshman Freek Van de Weerd (24:41.6).
The individual race should see plenty of competition as UC Davis sophomore Jordy Ceja (23:55.6), UC Irvine senior Isaiah Thompson (24:28.1) and Long Beach State senior Emilio Nunez (24:42.3) and UC Riverside sophomore Solomon Demeku-Ousman (24:44.4) look to parlay strong seasons in top 10 showings.
Cal Poly, ranked #9 in the West Region, enters the women’s race as the defending champion as it seeks its fourth title in five seasons. Sophomore Peyton Bilo leads the Mustang contingent, having run as fast as 20:08.8 this season. Bilo will also look to win the individual title after coming in second a year ago as a true freshman.
The host Rainbow Wahine have had an eye opening season as they look to take the next step at the Conference Championships. Sophomore Camille Campos has set a PR in every race this season, culminating in a time of 2:03.04 which is the fastest 6K by a Big West runner this season. Junior Montana Martinez has also been a key runner for the ‘Bows, putting in a best effort of 21:13.1.
UC Santa Barbara will offer stiff competition to the field as the Gauchos enter the Championship ranked #11 in the West Region. Junior Jenna Hinkle has been the top runner for UCSB, putting forth a top effort of 20:10.1 this season. Hinkle has also lowered her time in each 6K she has run this season.Senior Kelsey O’Connell could also be an X-factor for UCSB as the Championship will be just the third race she has run this season, but she owns a top time of 21:01.7.
The defending individual champion also returns as UC Riverside junior Faith Makau returns to the fold. Makau has topped out this season at 21:05.4, while her classmate Weslie Totten gives UCR a potent top two as she has put forth a top 6K time of 20:47.7.
UC Davis looks for the healthy return of senior Hannah Kirkegaard and freshman Julia Lemak to aid its championship run, while freshman Kristen Leung has picked up her performance with a top time of 21:17.6. Keep an eye on Cal State Fullerton as the Titans have three top two finishes including two first place showings. The club is led by senior Sierra Ungerman (21:03.8) and freshman Samantha Huerta (21.22.0).
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