This Friday in Sacramento, 14 runners from both the UCSB women’s and men’s cross country teams will journey up to compete in the NCAA West Regionals.
The Gauchos haven’t competed since Nov. 2 at the Big West Championship, in which both teams put up strong performances. The women finished third while the men took second place.
“These guys are still very hungry,” Head Coach Pete Dolan explained. “They know they haven’t run their best possible race as a team yet this year, so they are all excited to get out there this weekend. Both teams have gotten a ton of rest since the [Big West Championship] and they will be ready to go.”
The competition this weekend gives Santa Barbara a chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships with Regionals taking place in nine sites across the U.S. The top two teams in each region will move on, along with 13 at-large bids. 38 individuals from teams that don’t qualify will also earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships Nov. 23.
UCSB’s women’s team will be led by its “Big Three,” as Coach Dolan calls them. The juniors, Dani Moreno and Christine Cooperstein, have been the 1-2 punch for the Gauchos throughout the season after developing chemistry that places them back-to-back in most races this season.
Moreno finished in third place at the Big West Championships with Cooperstein crossing the finish line right behind her in fourth place.
Sophomore Maxine Goyettee will surely be the next in line, looking to improve on her performance in San Luis Obispo a few weeks ago when she took 21st place in the meet.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, sophomore Sarah Shreck will miss out on the Regionals this year due to injury. UCSB will look to freshman Emily Lopez to fill the gap and step up in place of the injured Shreck.
The men’s team expects to see its sophomore duo in Bryan Guijarro and Anthony Ortolan headlining this event. Finishing sixth and seventh overall in the Big West Championships while also being the only Gauchos to finish the 8k run under 26 minutes surely determines the expectations that they will have for this race.
UCSB will be looking to these second-years to bring the team to victory this weekend. Junior Bryce Rausa will also be a threat for this Gauchos team as he placed just behind Santa Barbara’s top two runners last week at Cal Poly.
The men’s 10K is set to start at 10:30 a.m. while the women’s 6k will start at 11:45 a.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of November 14th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.