SUNNYVALE, Calif- On a cool, rainy fall morning in Sunnyvale, the Gaucho cross country teams took to the flat and fast dirt loops of Baylands Park for one final tune-up before this year's Big West Conference Championships in Hawaii. Strong 1-2 performances for both teams solidified top-3 placings in each race.
Jenna Hinkle once again led the Gaucho women in frontrunning fashion, placing 4th overall with a new 6k best of 20:10.1. The Junior has lowered her times at every race she's competed in this season.
"I was pleased with the performance of the women today", remarked Head Coach Pete Dolan, "I think we maintained the momentum we have been carrying through the season, despite missing a few of our top runners (Camerena and Fuller)".
Hinkle was followed by strong performances by the duo of Kelsey O'Connell and Miranda Ross. They both finished in the top 20, with times of 21:01.7 and 21:09.1. This was a lifetime best for O'Connell in only her second race this season.
"O'Connell put together a great race, getting out smart and closing very well...and Ross has now established herself as a consistent talent we can depend on", Coach Dolan reflected about the two Gauchos.
The men were led by Adam Avila, as the Senior once again demonstrated his veteran experience to cover the 8k course in 23:45.9. This would be good enough for 5th place overall in a race that saw the meet record go down.
Not far behind would be Junior George Baier, who would finish in 11th with a time of 24:06.2. The two have taken turns leading the Gauchos all season long.
"Adam and George had solid races today, but we still haven't put together a complete team performance", said Coach Dolan, "they have the talent and have put in the work but now we must wait until Conference to see if they rise to their potential."
The Gauchos will have less than two weeks before the 2016 Big West Conference Championships in Kahuku, Hawaii. Last year the men defended their Big West Championship and the women finished 2nd. Check back on ucsbgauchos.com for a complete meet preview.