Coming off an impressive showing at the Stanford Invite, the UCSB men’s and women’s cross country team stumble at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Pre-National Invitational. The Gauchos placed 22nd in the men’s 8000 meter White Race and 30th for the women’s 6000 meter Blue Race.
Junior Scott Smith set the tone for the men as he placed 39th with his time of 24:19.4 and was instantly followed by fellow teammate and junior Julian DeRubira who crossed the line at 24:42.4 Finishing off for the Gauchos were junior Waleed Totari with his time of 25:31.7, and sophomores Andrew Pilavijian and Anthony Masci with their times of 25:26.1 and 25:36.0. The Gauchos final score was 634 points to secure the 22nd spot. This was not the finish UCSB had hoped for, as their team goal was to place within the top 10-15th.
“Twenty-second place is a little disappointing,” Assistant Coach Avery Blackwell said. “Finishing in 10th-15th was the goal, and we thought we could break into that range with a good race. We need more time to mature, and we will be able to get back on top.”
On the women’s front, senior Danielle Domenichelli once again started off on a slow route, but she soon found the momentum to finish in the top 30 with her time of 20:58.2. Senior Ashley Ramirez also helped the Gaucho women claim points with her time of 22:34.3 and sophomore Katie Voigtlander had a strong finish, clocking in at 22:47.8 The Gaucho ladies also saw great efforts from their young members as freshman Ashley Beechan and sophomore Breanne Strenkowski got on the scoreboard with their times of 22:56.6 and 23:09.2. Despite it all, the Gauchos could only score 838 points to land the 30th spot.
“We’re a little young and inexperienced,” Assistant Coach Avery Blackwell said. “We didn’t get out hard enough, and we were too far behind to make an impact. It does leave room for improvement, which is what we will seek for the following weeks.”
The # 1 nationally ranked Washington Huskies easily took the women’s race with all five of their runners placing in the top 15th spots. For the men, # 10 Stanford dominated with their impressive score of 777 overall team points. The Gauchos will have a chance to redeem themselves and prove their strength on the track by competing for their division title at the Big West Championships in Riverside, CA on Nov. 11th.