Aug. 31, 2007
For the second consecutive season, Cal Poly is the unanimous choice by the coaches to win the Big West Men's Cross Country Championship it was announced today.
Cal Poly, which has won seven of the previous nine conference titles, amassed the full eight first place votes on its way to 64 points. The Mustangs are led by 2006 Athlete of the Year and All-America Phillip Reid, the defending conference champion. Reid headlines a group of Cal Poly runners that claimed three of the top five spots at last season's conference meet. Sophomore Evan Anderson (4th-26:11.6) and Troy Swier (5th-26:12.4) combined with Reid to form a championship nucleus for the Mustangs. Add the talents of Joe Gatel (12th-26:49.9) and Jeff Lease (14th-27:02.5) and Cal Poly has plenty of returning talent to keep the title in San Luis Obispo.
UC Santa Barbara was a near-unanimous second place pick after amassing 55 points. Despite Cal Poly's dominance, the Gauchos finished just four points behind the Mustangs at the 2006 Big West Championships and also gained an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships, just like Cal Poly. UCSB will have to replace the talents of Mike Chavez and All-America J.D. Krawczyk in order to keep the pressure on Cal Poly. Micah Tyhurst, who finished eighth (26:22.2) at the conference meet last season, and Tim Aukshunas (11th-26:32.4) are the top returnees for UCSB.
UC Riverside, which finished sixth at the conference championships last season, checked in at third in the poll with 40 points. The Highlanders' hopes in 2007 start with talented runners such as Jose Melina (19th-27:19.2) and Andrew Tachias (22nd-27:23.0). UCR hopes the youth of 2006 (four scoring sophomores at the conference meet) turns into experience in 2007 as it makes the climb into the upper echelon of the Big West.
UC Davis and UC Irvine finished in a tie for fourth in the poll with 38 points, respectively, while Long Beach State ended up in sixth with 26 tallies. Cal State Fullerton (19) and Cal State Northridge (8) rounded out the ballot on the men's side.
2007 Big West Men's Cross Country Coaches Poll Results 1. Cal Poly - 64 (8) 2. UC Santa Barbara - 55 3. UC Riverside - 40 t-4. UC Davis - 38 t-4. UC Irvine - 38 6. Long Beach State - 26 7. Cal State Fullerton - 19 8. Cal State Northridge - 8