UCSD goes the distance

    The UCSD women’s cross country team topped five schools, including three California Collegiate Athletic Association foes, winning the Division II title at its own UCSD Triton Cross Country Classic on UCSD’s North Campus Course on Oct. 11, while the UCSD men defended their division title with mixed results.

    Jennifer Downs/Guardian
    Repeat: The men’s team defended their Division II title from last year despite missing seven top runners.

    “”We did awesome; our pack time was close together and we moved up really well,”” junior Lindsay Stalker said.

    The Triton women earned 37 points to effectively distance themselves from Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Hayward and Christian Heritage. UCSD finished fifth overall among the 21 total teams with 170 points.

    Sophomore Michelle DiMeo was the first Triton to cross the finish line in the 6,000-meter race, coming in 23rd overall after touring the course in 23:48.1. Senior Lillian Gardiner followed her in 28th place by finishing in 24:02.1, with sophomore Nina Miller (44th, 24:23.4), freshman Brenda Stevens (45th, 24:28.5) and sophomore Mimi Hodgins (50th, 24:39.7) rounding out the point-scoring for UCSD.

    Senior Katie Bunker (66th, 25:09.4) and sophomores Bailey Kennedy (85th, 25:41.8), Meghan Bellotti (109th, 26:18.6) and Kate Branson (154th, 28:42.3) were the remaining Tritons in the field of 199.

    UCSD’s top five runners had a solid time gap of 51 seconds in the 6K. The divisional title won on Oct. 11 was the second one in a row for the Triton women in this event.

    Many of the top Triton women were resting for the upcoming CCAA Championships.

    “”It’s a tough course, but the girls stuck through it and had a good finish,”” Hodgins said.

    The Division II race was composed of NCAA Division II and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics programs. The Triton women are ranked 17th nationally in Division II. UCLA won both the overall team competition (60 points) and was also top of the six Division I programs on hand (47 points). Irvna Vashchuk of USC ran the course in 21:56.6 for the individual title.

    The hilly course is a sandy one, but the rain had allowed for greater traction for the runners.

    “”The gradual ups in the course kill you, plus it’s usually pretty sandy, but the rain stabilized things,”” Hodgins said.

    The UCSD men had a mixed bag performance, since the top seven men’s runners were rested to prepare for the CCAA Championships on Oct. 25. This allowed many new runners to shine.

    “”We worked the course, and I’m pretty satisfied with my time, but we are a little disappointed with our overall team,”” sophomore Chris Beetley-Hagler said.

    Beetley-Hagler came in 27th, with a time of 26:44.5. Eric Nilsen followed at 43rd, delivering a time of 27:22.3 for the Tritons.

    “”I did OK, but I didn’t run my best ‹ we didn’t run our top squad, however, we finished as a group,”” Nilsen said.

    The men’s race had many strong finishes garnered by Orange Coast Community College and UCLA.

    The Tritons will be back in action next weekend, hosting the UCSD alumni in an exhibition meet beginning at 9 a.m. on the North Campus Course as part of UCSD Homecoming 2003 festivities. They will then travel to Chico, Calif., for the CCAA Championships on Oct. 25.

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