Cross Country Championships Set For UC Riverside This Weekend
Big West Cross Country Weekly Release No. 9
Big West Cross Country Championships Entries
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.
The women’s 6K Championship will be first on the course, starting at 8:30 a.m. PT, followed by the men’s 8K at 9:15 a.m. PT. Tickets are $5 for adults and children three and up and free for Big West students with ID. Results will be available in real time on the Finished Results app.
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.
The women’s 6K race and should be a dash to the finish. UC Santa Barbara’s Jenna Hinkle is one of the favorites for the title, boasting a top time of 19:17.9 this season. The senior was also the runner-up in last year’s Championship meet in Hawai’i. A top challenger is hometown favorite Faith Makau, racing on her home course for the final time in her collegiate career. Makau won the event on home soil in 2015 and also boasts top 5 showings in 2014 and 2016. She is the only active runner in the Big West to post three straight top 5 finishes in the league 6K championship.
Cal Poly sophomore Miranda Daschian (19:51.6 top 6K time) and UCR senior Weslie Pearce (20:54.4) are also contenders for top five finishes, while Cal State Fullerton, which has spent time in the regional rankings this season, boasts a squad of young talent led by freshman Wendi Leos and sophomore Sam Huerta.
The men’s 8K race also features an athlete who was runner-up a year ago as Cal Poly senior Swarnjit Boyal returns to the fold. Boyal has been one of the top runners in the league this season, posting a top time of 24:06.3. Boyal also has returning top 10 teammates in sophomore Chas Cook and last season’s overall winner, senior Clayton Hutchins. UC Santa Barbara also has a top contender to challenge the Mustangs in freshman Isaiah Lozano in addition to seniors Patrick Bourke and George Baier.
A surprising club has been Cal State Fullerton, which has been ranked in the West Region for a majority of the season. The squad boasts junior Sam Pimentel and sophomore Jorge Sanchez as its top runners, while freshman Jacob Smith not too far behind. UC Davis has also finished strong going into the Championship, led by junior Jordy Ceja and graduate transfer Thomas Madden.