X-country places 15th

    In its first time competing in a Division II national event, the UCSD men’s cross country team finished 15th at the 43rd annual National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Cross Country National Championships this weekend at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

    The field was composed of the top teams from the eight regional championships: East, Great Lakes, New England, North Central, South, Southeast, South Central and West.

    UCSD advanced to nationals as a result of its fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division II West Regional Cross Country Championships, hosted by Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. In the national championships, the Tritons finished as a team with 397 total points.

    The UCSD women’s team was unable to compete because it needed to finish in the top four teams in regional competition to advance to the national championship. The women finished 12th out of the 21 teams in the regional championship.

    Leading the Tritons in national competition was Alan Shapiro, who ran the 8-kilometer course in 33:52.1, finishing 61st out of 179 competitors who represented the top 24 schools from around the country.

    John Morrison finished 76th and David Dunbar came in 94th to round out the UCSD runners in the top 100. Grant Guenther, Neil Kalra, Julian Nahan and Stephan Martin finished 101st, 106th, 125th and 152nd, respectively, to round out the Tritons.

    Two-time defending national champions and first-ranked Western State College of Colorado won the event for the third year in a row with 38 points. It placed six of its seven runners in the top 22, including champion Michael Aish, who finished the course in 30:52.6, and runner-up Joshua Eberly, who followed with 31:34. Western State won the North Central Regional championships with its runners taking first through fifth place.

    Abilene Christian University of Texas ranked second in the nation behind Western State, which finished with 74 points. Adams State College of Colorado, which finished runner-up to Western State in the North Central Regionals, rounded out the top three with 107 points.

    The championships capped the Tritons’ second year playing in Division II’s California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference. The men’s and women’s teams finished third and fifth, respectively, at this year’s CCAA championships.

    The men’s team was the NCAA’s 20th-ranked Division II team heading into the season but fell out of the top 20 for the majority of the season. Due to a strong finish, however, the team ended up 19th when the final rankings came out in early November.

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