SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara athletes Jenna Hinkle and Yousef Baddour were recognized for their performances in the Big West Conference by receiving Female Athlete of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors for cross country. In addition, Head Coach Pete Dolan was also distinguished with Big West Coach of the Year honors for cross country on the women's side.
Baddour has been a consistent scoring member all season for the men's team, scoring in four out of five meets up to this point. The redshirt freshmen also improved on his 8 kilometer times all season long, starting out with a 26:12 at the UCSB Gaucho Invitational. He would go on to run 25:18.9 at the UCR Invitational, 25:00.1 at the Bill Dellinger Invitational, and 24:43.1 at the Big West Conference Championships where he would place 5th overall, the highest placing for a freshman in the race. Baddour is the first to win Freshman of the Year honors for the Gauchos since Bryan Guijarro took it in 2012, and he's only the second to do so in program history.
Hinkle has displayed a top level of cross country running all season, taking either individual victories or placing within the top-10 of every race she has competed in thus far. Out of five competitions, she has taken first place in three which include the UCSB Gaucho Invitational, the Highlander Invitational, and most recently the Big West Conference Championships. Hinkle's Athlete of the Year honor is the first for the Gauchos since 2010 when Amanda Babineaux took the award, who also captured an individual conference title that year.
Dolan earned the Coach of the Year honor on the women's side for the first time since 2010, which was also the last time the women won the conference meet in cross country. Coach Dolan now holds 10 cross country championship titles on the women's side since he took over both men's and women's programs 31 years ago.