Harrier Duo Races to Nationals

    Because of a miscommunication, the men’s 10,000-meter race was stopped in the middle of competition and postponed. Following the delay, UCSD finished in seventh, with senior Jake LeVieux qualifying for nationals. (Joseph Ho /Guardian)

    Cross Country— Competing in their most critical event of the season, the UCSD cross country teams bolted out their best efforts on Nov. 8 during the NCAA West Regional, attempting to score a returning trip to the NCAA National Championships. In the end, however, the Triton harriers came up short to powerful rivals such as Chico State University and Seattle Pacific University, neither the men’s nor the women’s team able to qualify for the Division II National Championships.

    In spite of the meet’s disappointment, the Tritons maintain their hope in senior Jake LeVieux and sophomore Bre Schofield, selected to represent UCSD at nationals.

    The men’s team faced some surprising adversity early on when the 10,000-meter race was interrupted and later rescheduled due to miscommunication and erroneous turn-navigating during the course run. According to senior Jake LeVieux, the setback negatively affected the runners, as some of their momentum was considerably shaved off by the botched first attempt. Nevertheless, LeVieux finished strong, seizing 14th place overall with a time of 33:41. Next in line was senior Gabe LaMothe (34:04), junior Mike Wright (35:39) and freshman Jeremy Riley (35:55), claiming 18th, 45th and 51st place, respectively. Ultimately, UCSD would place seventh in a pool of 18 schools.

    According to LeVieux, the team drew from its ability to refocus its efforts and regroup.

    “We had a really positive outlook right before our second time,” he said. “That was really important because it’s hard to get back into your game.”

    The Tritons were also aided by their superior knowledge of the UCSD home course, allowing the harriers to race with confidence.

    “We’ve run [the course] so many times that we are so used to it,” LeVieux said. “Mentally we know what to do at every turn and we know what to expect. We don’t have to think about the course at all — it’s second nature.”

    For the women’s 6,000-meter run, Schofield powered through the pack to garner a fifth-place finish at 21:44. Close behind came teammates senior captain Ashleigh Montgomery (23:26) and freshman Elena Inouye (24:09), earning 27th and 51st place, respectively.

    “I prepared myself fully for this race,” Schofield said. “The number-one thing I find myself doing is keep pushing, because if I take my foot off that pedal, then I know I won’t be doing my hardest … All throughout the whole season we’re there for each other. With that support, I have [to race well] for my girls.”
    Overall, the UCSD women secured sixth place out of the 24 schools present.

    “We had a great season,” head coach Nate Garcia said. “We had a good, developing group that continued to get better as we raced through; we came a little bit short on the race [on Saturday], but I’m really proud of the effort our women put in. Whenever you go in and face the best in the country, you’re going to face a challenge, and our girls faced it very boldly.”

    According to Montgomery, the season provided the harriers with a strong foundation for the future.

    “I’m optimistic because they’re a group of girls that are willing to work hard and push themselves,” she said. “They’re very selfless. I want to leave them with a great tradition — to enjoy it and run every race like it’s your last.”

    For Schofield and LeVieux, the cross-country journey will make one last exciting stop: Slippery Rock, Penn., where they will represent UCSD in the NCAA National Championships, scheduled for Nov. 22.

    Garcia said he hopes his runners will place within the top 30 and and earn an All-American award.

    “For our individuals going to nationals, we are looking to see them race better than they have in the past — to continue to develop their skills and abilities,” he said. “Any time you take an individual [to nationals] you’re looking to represent the West Region and [UCSD] well, and All-American status is definitely one of those ways.”

    With such a growing roster of talent, the upcoming cross country seasons look bright for UCSD.

    “We have a good young group of folks who have great leadership in their older teammates,” Garcia said. “I anticipate that we are laying the groundwork for a lot great seasons to come.”

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