Rookie Nets Top-25 Finish at Nationals

    Amid freezing temperatures, sophomore Bre Schofield earned All-American honors by running to a 22nd place finish at the National Championships. Her time of 22:19 in the women’s 6,000 meters was two seconds off the winning time, making Schofield the team’s highest finisher. (Joseph Ho /Guardian File)

    Cross Country — Senior Jake LeVieux and sophomore Bre Schofield were greeted with an early winter when both harriers traveled to Slippery Rock, Penn., to represent UCSD in the NCAA Division-II National Championships, which were held on Nov. 22. With the ground covered in snow and flanked by barren trees, Cooper’s Lake Campground looked like the quintessential picture of December, and although it made for a great winter landscape it did not exactly make for an ideal running course. In spite of the frosty conditions, UCSD’s harriers were able to battle through the weather and their rival runners to finish strong.

    In the men’s 10,000 meter run, LeVieux got off to a solid start, occupying 42nd place after the first mile. The Triton harrier could not sustain his position, but still pushed to a top-100 finish, seizing 92nd place with a time of 33:06. Scott Bauhs of Chico State claimed first place in the race. The Wildcats have proved to be one of UCSD’s tough adversaries; the Tritons fell to them earlier in the season during the conference championships in San Bernardino. Bauhs would go on to earn All-American honors and was named the Division-II Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year.

    On the women’s side, Schofield — in her first season of collegiate-level competition — could not have been more true to form as she put in another compelling performance to complete her outstanding season, anchoring 22nd place with a time of 22:19 for the women’s 6,000 meter event.

    “I wanted to represent my team and the West region well,” Schofield said. “I also wanted to really work hard because work ethic creates good results.”

    In the grand pool of 189 runners, Schofield fought for every second of her time, coming up short by a mere two seconds to Slippery Rock University’s Jaime Wright. As for the freezing weather, Schofield said she brushed it off as the race started.

    “The weather was kind of intense,” Schofield said. “There was snow in my face and my leg muscles began to stiffen throughout the race. But being cold wasn’t really a factor. When the race was about to start, I stripped off all my clothes and was fine when the gun blew off. I ran in just my buns.

    Schofield’s results mark UCSD’s highest finish since 2002. Furthermore, she was one of just three California Collegiate Athletic Association female athletes to earn All-American accolades by virtue of her top-25 finish.

    “It feels great that I was able to be an All-American,” she said. “There’s nothing like knowing you earned that title. It’s rewarding to bring something home for my team and for myself. Although [coach Nate Garcia] and I wanted [my finish] to be in the top 15, the race felt like the most challenging of the season so I was extremely happy with my accomplishment.”

    Although the men’s and women’s cross country teams as a whole failed to qualify, LeVieux and Schofield’s presence at nationals adds to the Tritons’ distinguished team history. Moreover, with such a tightly knit pack of harriers, the 2008 season laid the groundwork for a promising future.

    “In the future, I plan to be in the top 10 at nationals — never losing the number one spot as a goal either,” Schofield said. “Us ladies go big or go home at UCSD so we set our goals high because we know we’re all destined for good things. Of course with more experience, the women’s team is going to grow and get really strong. We will have a tight pack in the future and I can’t wait for all of us to be rewarded for our hard work.”

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