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Cross Country

Big West Runners Take Their Marks For 2017


Big West Weekly Release No. 1


The trails and hills will be alive with the sound of running as the 2017 Big West Cross Country season starts with six-meet schedule over the opening weekend.

Friday will see four clubs in action, three of which will be at Alumni Park in Malibu for the Pepperdine Invitational. The season-opening meet will feature the men’s and women’s teams from CSUN, Long Beach State and UC Irvine in a late afternoon 4K women’s race and 5K men’s race.

UC Riverside will also be in action on Friday as they head to Sparks, Nev., for the 11th annual Nature’s Bakery Nevada Twilight Cross Country Classic. The meet is run in the twilight of the day as the women’s collegiate race is slated for 8:40pm and the men’s race is scheduled for 9:20pm.

Saturday’s action is all home meets as UC Santa Barbara hosts the UCSB Lagoon Open, Cal State Fullerton hosts the Mark Covert Classic and UC Davis hosts the Aggie Open. Cal Poly will also compete in the Lagoon as part of the annual Blue-Green rivalry dual meet.

The other meet on Saturday will take place out on the islands as Hawai’i hosts the 17th annual Big Wave Invitational. The meet will be held at the Kahuku Golf Course in Kahuku, HI, the site of last season’s Big West Championships. The men’s and women’s races will both be 5K affairs as the host Bows welcome Hawai’i Pacific, UH Hilo, Pacific and Chaminade to the North Shore.

• The preseason regional rankings have three Big West clubs on the men’s and women’s side, both of which feature the same clubs. In the men’s rankings, defending champion Cal Poly checks in at #8, UC Santa Barbara is ranked #14 and Cal State Fullerton is #15. The women’s rankings are led by the 2016 champion Mustangs at #11, UCSB is #14 and the Titans are coming in at #15.

• A familiar course hosts the 2017 Cross Country Championship as the Ag/Ops Course on the campus of UC Riverside will be the site of the league meet. The Championship returns to Ag/Ops after a one-year hiatus and for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.

Cal Poly will look to defend its dual Championship victories, the third time since 2012 that the Mustangs have swept the titles at the league meet. Cal Poly’s men’s team hasn’t hoisted the trophy at the Ag/Ops Course since 2012, while the women’s team won the last race at UCR in 2015. UC Santa Barbara’s men’s squad has enjoyed its recent runs at the Ag/Ops Course, winning the titles in 2014 and ‘15 and finishing in second in 2012.