[media-credit id=20125 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]The UCSB women’s cross country team won its second consecutive conference title at the 2010 Big West Championship on Saturday Oct. 30, holding off rival Cal Poly 35-37. Senior Amanda Moreno set a course and Big West record of 19:57.0, becoming the first woman to break the 20-minute mark at the conference meet.

Winning its sixth Big West title since 2003, the women’s cross country squad fought off competition in the rain on a muddy UC Riverside 6k course. Seniors Crystal Reed and Breanne Strenkowski took third and second place, respectively, while Moreno led the pack with a record setting, first place performance.

“It was slippery out there. We were lucky our coach told us to bring spikes,” Strenkowski said. “It’s a dirt course so we would usually wear flats with no spikes. We were more prepared than other teams.”

A transfer from Reno, Amanda Moreno made the Big West Championship an all-out fiesta for the Gauchos. The senior’s record-setting run was over 12 seconds faster than the previous mark, which was held by former Gaucho Danielle Domenichelli.

“I ate oatmeal before the race and just ran,” Moreno said. “I didn’t know what the record was, I just ran. All of a sudden, I didn’t see anybody around me.”

“Amanda is a super-freak,” Strenkowski said. “She worked her ass off this summer with Bikram yoga and running 80 miles a week. She dedicated herself to running.”

In the men’s race, UCSB finished in third place with 70 points. Riverside placed second with 66 and with the lowest combined team score of 64 points UC Davis won its first championship in cross-country at the Division I level. The Aggies’ victory is the first men’s title won by a team other than Cal Poly since 2002.

“The men ran very well. It was a great day for them,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “They’ve never run like that. We didn’t win, but they performed like champions. We got a supreme performance from junior Izzy Herrera. The men will be even stronger in the regional.”

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams now look forward to the NCAA West Regional Tournament, held in Eugene, Oregon on Nov. 13. The top two teams in that race will receive automatic bids to the NCAA National Championship on Nov. 22.