This Saturday marked the day of the 2013 Big West Championships held in San Luis Obispo, where both the men’s and women’s cross country teams would compete for UCSB. Cal Poly provided the venue for this contest at the Fairbanks Memorial Cross Country Course, a very rugged and hilly route.
The UCSB women, led by junior Dani Moreno, were able to take third place in the contest out of the nine teams with a score of 62. The men managed to sneak into the second spot on the poll and claim silver with a score of 49. Both of the Cal Poly teams took the number one spot as Big West Champions.
Moreno (21:56.2) and junior Christine Cooperstein (21:59.7) landed themselves in the third and fourth spots at the finish of this race, coming in only three seconds apart and making a huge contribution to the Gauchos’ score for the 6K run. These two runners continue to show chemistry with one another by placing together in several of this season’s events.
“They looked good today,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “I’m not jumping up and down excited for it, but I am very pleased and satisfied with our performance. Some of the girls we needed to see step up did and that’s what I asked for.”
The men’s 8K race took an upwards turn in the face of the Big West rankings that listed UCSB as the third-best team and predicted such a performance of the Gauchos. Dolan claimed that if the team did come in third, it would be a surprising disappointment.
Santa Barbara would not disappoint as it went out and grabbed second place overall in the Big West on Saturday. The team was led in a similar fashion as the women, when sophomores Bryan Guijarro (25:39.0) and Anthony Ortolan (25:42.8) finished sixth and seventh, while junior Bryce Rausa (26:02.6) followed shortly behind and took ninth. Of the nine UCSB competitors, six placed in the top 20 to clinch first runner-up.
“These guys are good and they improved so much over the summer,” Dolan explained. “Cal Poly had the horses today and we knew they would be a tough team to beat, so being in second really is what we knew we would be battling for, and we accomplished that [Saturday].”
With the regular season behind them and both teams placing on the podium, the Gauchos will look to send their stars to the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento on Nov. 14.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.