Cross Country Has Strong Showings in Weekend Events

UCSD’s cross country teams competed this past Saturday in two different locations, splitting up the team between the Roy Griak Invitational and the Coyote Challenge. The University of Minnesota hosted the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, while Cal State San Bernardino welcomed teams to its campus for the Coyote Challenge.

Roy Griak Invitational

With two top-15 finishes by seniors Tareq Alwafai and Brendan Gee, the No. 21 UCSD men’s team finished an astounding second out of the 40 teams competing. Alwafai finished eighth in 26:22.5 while Gee completed the eight-kilometer course in 26:32.5, good for 13th.

“We had huge runs by both Tareq and Brendan at the top on the men’s side,” UCSD head coach Nate Garcia told UCSD Athletics.

Rounding up the scorers for UCSD were senior Scott Acton (36th, 27:11.2), junior Garrett Lepine (44th, 27:21.5) and sophomore Samuel Blake (56th, 27:31.8). The Tritons scored a total of 130 points (6+9+30+37+48), finishing second only behind No. 6 Augustana, which scored 88 points. Black Hills State (149 points), University of Manitoba (152), No. 14 Western Washington and No. 18 MSU Moorhead (283) completed the top six, with the two latter teams finishing tied for fifth. All the Triton runners finished within 1:09 of each other, in what is to be considered their best performance since the beginning of the season. In the individual standings, Kevin Tree of Lakehead took the victory with a time of 25:57.0.

On the women’s side, a group consisting of sophomore Karina Carstens (16th, 23:32.6), senior Ella Verhees (33rd, 24:07.8) and juniors Skylar Thiel (51st, 24:30.2), Kristin Semancsin (56th, 24:36.4) and Merin Arft (61st, 24:41.1) ran to finish fifth out of 40. On the six-kilometer course, Carstens continued her good season to lead all Triton runners, while Thiel, Semancsin and Arft all finished within 11 seconds of each other.

“Karina had a strong day and we had a good packing behind her,” Garcia said.

UCSD beat out two ranked teams to finish fifth: No. 8 Western Washington by a point and No. 16 Winona State, which finished 13th. The Tritons, with 209 points (15+32+49+54+59), finished behind No. 4 University of Mary (1st, 93 points), No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth (2nd, 95), No. 17 Northern Michigan (3rd, 122) and Colorado Springs (4th, 149).

Coyote Challenge

The other Triton runners were at the Coyote Challenge. The men had a full team, finishing third, but the women only had four runners competing.

Sophomore Manav Vats finished in sixth, leading all Tritons in 26:36.61. He was followed by freshman Burak Tufekci (11th, 26:51.11), sophomores Joseph Benrubi (17th, 27:04.67), Garrett Boulais (18th, 27:06.39) and freshman Julian Romero (23rd, 27:20.93). UCSD scored 77 points (6+11+18+19+23), behind No. 25 California Baptist (60 points) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (63). Vahagn Isayan from Cal State San Marcos finished first in a time of 26:06.83.

Among the four Triton women running, freshman Camille Perkins was the best on the day, finishing in 17th place in 19:40.2. Sophomores Alexandra Hernandez (31st/20:19.34), Kailyn Scott (80th/22:02.50) and Valerie Stark (91st/22:45.53) also crossed the finish line for UCSD. In the individual standings, Laura Aceves from Cal State San Bernardino won the race in 17:47.94.

UCSD hosts the Triton Classic for the 24th time on on Saturday, Oct. 8, with the race beginning at 8 a.m. on North Campus.