Cross country running for top spot

Both the UCSD men’s and women’s cross country teams are coming off impressive 2004 seasons. The women placed second at the California Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs and went on to finish 17th out of 24 teams in the NCAA Division II National Championships. The men matched the women’s success by grabbing a third-place finish at the CCAA playoffs and impressing opponents from across the nation by taking fourth place in the national championships. This year, both Triton teams hope to improve on last year’s finishes and can do so at the upcoming Paul Short Invitational on Oct. 1 and the UCSD Triton Classic on Oct. 8.

The Triton Classic will be UCSD’s last before the start of the CCAA playoffs. So far this season, the Tritons have participated in two events and showed promise with strong finishes.

In their first competition of the year on Aug. 27, the men’s team edged out Point Loma and San Diego Christian for a first-place finish thanks to a superb individual performance by senior Chris Beetley-Hagler, who crossed the finish line first in the individual race with a time of 22 minutes, 32.1 seconds. While the men battled to earn the top spot, the women squared off against Point Loma, Cal State San Bernardino and San Diego Christian and came away with a victory, led by senior Mimi Hodgins’ top time of 15:04.1.

Since the success of their first meet, the Tritons have competed in the UC Irvine Invitational on Sept. 10. With more competition at the meet, the Triton men still managed to place fifth out of 12 teams while the women took fourth place out of 17 teams. Individually, Hodgins led the UCSD women again with a second-place overall finish and a time of 18:26.9. The men did not have a major individual leader, with their best time coming from Carl Lostrom, whose time of 23:11.9 earned him a tenth-place finish.

The men’s and women’s squads have each looked impressive in their limited action so far this year. Now, the teams must prepare for the Paul Short Invitational in Bethleham, Pa., as well as the Triton Classic.