Santa Barbara, Calif - "I knew our Women's team had done the work this summer, I could see it in our training." Head Cross Country Coach Pete Dolan remarked after watching the Invitational 6k at the UC Riverside Invitational. "Today they backed that up in a race."
Behind strong performances by Jenna Hinkle, Miranda Ross, and Katie Camerena, the UCSB Women were able to place 3rd amongst eleven Division 1 teams, trailing only ranked Arkansas and Cal Poly SLO. Hinkle blazed a 20:34 for 7th place, 40 seconds faster than her old personal best set on this course last year. Little did she know that close behind, Ross and Camerena were also having the race of their lives as they crossed the line in 20:57 and 20:59 for 22nd and 23rd pace. Sophomore, Ross had never run under 22:30 before. For the Freshman Camerena, this was her debut at the 6k distance.
On the Men's side, George Baier led UCSB to also finish 3rd amongst seven Division 1 teams in the Invitational 8k.
"The Men's result was a mixed bag, but Baier had a breakthrough out there and our top end stuck to the plan" Dolan reflected, "I still need to see more from these guys as we move towards Conference".
After running a very controlled first 2 miles, Baier closed his last 3 miles at a remarkable clip, finishing in a final time of 24:13, a 27 second improvement. Patrick Bourke was the Gaucho's second man and also finished in a PB of 24:44. He was followed close behind by Adam Avila (24:45) and Austin Lay (25:00). Andrew Verdin rounded out the scoring as the team's fifth man in 25:38.
The Gauchos will have bye week before heading up to the Stanford Invitational on October 1st where they will face some of the top teams in the country. Follow the team on Facebook and Twitter for updates and check back on UCSBGauchos for a race preview.