SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It's conference weekend and the UC Santa Barbara cross country team is prime to make their final bid on how they stack up in the Big West in 2017. They will travel down to Riverside to race on the Ag/Ops Course for the final time this season against the rest of the conference on Saturday October 28th, 2017. The meet will start with the women's 6k at 8:30 a.m. while the men's 8k will start at 9:15 a.m.
General admission will be $5 with children 2 and under receiving free admission. Any Big West students will also have free admission with a school ID.
Directions and Parking
Parking for the conference championships will be located in Lot 30 in the Northwest corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Canyon Crest Drive. Shuttles will be available to transport spectators from the parking lot to the course and back to the parking lot. A $6 fee is payable to the attendant on site. If no attendant is present, please use the dispenser located in the lot. Media parking is available at the course.
To reach the Ag/Ops Course from the 215/60 freeway, exit Martin Luther King and go West. Turn left at the Canyon Crest traffic light and travel approximately 300 meters to the course entrance on the right. For parking in Lot 30, continue straight on Martin Luther King.
The lady Gauchos have been displaying consistent results throughout the regular season, netting positive records on almost every team in the conference. Their most recent highlight came from the Highlander Invitational a few weeks ago which culminated in an overall team victory. The only teams they don't hold positive records against are Cal Poly who they've lost to at the season opening Lagoon Meet and the Dellinger Invitational, and the University of Hawaii who they've not competed against yet this season. With this in mind, the ladies will be looking to do some serious damage on the Riverside course that has been quite generous to them as of late.
On the individual side of things, Senior Jenna Hinkle is being seen as the heavy favorite heading into the championships, having not lost to anyone else in the conference thus far. With the post-season starting this weekend, she's looking to take her first steps towards solidifying herself as a national-class contender.
Katie Camarena has locked herself in as the No. 2 scorer for the team since the Riverside Invitational, so she will look to continue that trend come Saturday. Camarena has been nipping at the heels of other top girls in the conference throughout the season, so a high placing is within reach for the young sophomore. Teammate Miranda Ross is in a similar situation, having run sub-21 at the Riverside course before and being a strong No. 3 throughout the season. Look for her to be in the mix as well in the top groups.
Behind Camarena and Ross, a wide array of ladies are ready to pounce at an opportunity to take the No. 4 and 5 positions. Emily Lopez and Celeste Wilson have presented their cases for those spots before, with Isa Marshall just behind them. And with the 7, 8, and 9 scorers not too far behind, the main concern might not be who takes those spots, but rather how low those spots can be for scoring.
The men come into the championship meet with mixed results. They hold positive records over the majority of the conference, but are 0-2 against Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton this year in head to heads. Additionally, they suffered a recent loss from UC Irvine at the Highlander Invitational leaving the score even at 1-1, having outscored Irvine at the Riverside Invitational earlier in the year. Team placings aren't set in stone until the conclusion of the race, but the predictions are wide open as to how the conference will sort out this year.
Isaiah Lozano has been the main protagonist for the men this season, and he looks prime to continue that trend coming into this weekend. His most recent clocking at the Highlander Invitational shows he's up for the challenge of a top ten individual finish. Senior Patrick Bourke looks to be in the mix as well, having led the Gauchos early season and trailing just behind Lozano in the past two meets. Fellow senior George Baier will also be looking to fight for a low scoring position. Things started off slowly for Baier early season, but he has been steadily molding back into the runner that took 10th last year at the conference meet.
Behind them, true freshman Brian Schulz has been hovering between the No. 2 and No. 4 positions all season. He'll be looking to continue his solid freshman campaign come Saturday. After Schulz however will rely on who steps up on the day. Jackson Bright and Yousef Baddour have past experience from scoring in conference meets befor, but the likes of true freshman Nick Randazzo and Jarett Chinn also have a shot to make that final scoring spot.