Tritons Can’t Keep Up With Wildcats in CCAA

    CROSS COUNTRY — Springing back into action over the weekend, the Tritons returned to San Bernardino to compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference Championships, with the men claiming second place in the 8,000-meter event and the women snagging third place in the 6,000-meter event. Facing some tough competition, the harriers ultimately battled Chico State University in their attempt to finish strong. This time around, however, that battle proved to be more elusive as the Wildcats placed eight men in the top 10 along with five women in the top nine for the 6,000-meter event.

    As the only Triton to crack the men’s top 10, senior Jake LeVieux turned in a time of 26:08 to earn ninth place, while junior Max Mullender and freshman Jeremy Riley seized 13th and 17th place, respectively.

    “I was really happy with how some of our runners stepped up and filled the holes,” head coach Nate Garcia said in regard to his team’s performance. “Max Mullender and Jeremy Riley had good days for us. We got into some good individual battles and I was very proud to see how the guys fought through the second half of the race.”

    Garcia said the results provide encouragement for the Tritons’ next race, the NCAA West Regional, which will be held at UCSD on Nov. 8.

    According to Mullender, the team has reached a level of stability in both its preparation and skill.

    “For regionals I think our team needs to be healthy and we need to all have a good day because there’s nothing we can really adjust at this point,” he said.

    Following his success in this race, Riley is set on sticking to his game plan.

    “My strategy is to start out relaxed and to keep moving up through the last half,” he said. “That’s what I did this race and I was able to finish well.”

    For the women, sophomore Bre Schofield opened things up once again as she sprinted for a third-place finish with a time of 21:55. The next four Tritons finished in a cluster as freshman Elena Inouye, senior Jessica DiMascio, senior Amanda Keuhn and sophomore Brianna Alban rounded out the scoring for UCSD, placing 18th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively.

    Inouye, who clocked in at 23:12, was also named as the CCAA Freshman of the Year. She attributed her individual success to the team’s solidarity.

    “Our team is really close; we encourage each other and help each other out,” Inouye said. “You cannot achieve something like that alone.”

    With the last event before the NCAA West Regional now complete, the teams will break for two weeks to gear up for the important event. Chico State will be among the many schools coming to UCSD to compete.

    “We’re trying to work on them — to give them a run for their money,” Riley said in regard to facing the Wildcats again.

    Inouye also expressed confidence in UCSD’s ability to earn a trip back to the NCAA National Championships.

    “I’m really excited for regionals, because it’s our home course and we know our course well,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it because I know our team is going to do some damage out there.”

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