At the NCAA West Regional in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, UCSB cross country ran well against the best teams from the west. The women’s team finished fifth out of 31 teams, behind Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, and tied with Cal, beating the likes of USF, Cal Poly, and UCLA.
Senior Amanda Moreno had the eighth best time overall, running a 20:21 6k, followed by seniors Breanne Strenkowski (20:29) and Crystal Reed (20:32) at 13th and 18th overall, respectively. Rounding out the top five for the Gauchos were juniors Andrea Jacobs (21:23) and Ashley Beechan (21:25). The team finished with 159 points.
UCSB has a chance of being selected as one of 13 at-large teams to go to the National Championships on Nov. 22 in Indiana.
Moreno was uncertain if things went well enough for the team to be selected.
“It was okay,” Moreno said. “Since we tied Cal, that might block us [from making Nationals].”
Still, she was happy with how they performed as a team.
“We ran really well and we beat USF, which we wanted to do,” she said. “Three in the top 20 is awesome. I don’t think many schools did that.”
Even if the team is not chosen for a spot in the National Championships, UCSB will still send Moreno and Strenkowski to Nationals.
“We’re happy with it,” Moreno said. “The top 40 will get All-American [Honors], so that will be our goal.”
On the men’s side, the team finished 11th out of 25 teams. They came in just behind UC Davis and Long Beach State, but beat Cal Poly and UC Riverside.
“It’s not what we wanted to do,” sophomore Juan Paredes said. “It’s pretty disappointing.”
Paredes set the pace for the Gauchos with a 31:04 10k, placing 45th overall, followed closely by sophomore Bhavik Kanzaria (31:06) at 47th. Juniors Andrew Piljavjian (31:18), Isadore Hererra (31:20), and freshman Jeremy Acosta (31:35) also earned points for UCSB, bringing their total to 302.
“Bhavik came up big for us,” Paredes explained. “We did what we could but the result [we wanted] wasn’t there.
While the team did not run its best race, they are a young team without any seniors and look forward to building on this experience for next year.
“This was good experience for a young team … [it] will help as their careers progress,” Nickless said.
“We got some experience so it was pretty good … we know what we need to do next year,” Paredes added. “We return everybody and we’re on the right path.”