Runners Prepare for Triton Classic

CROSS COUNTRY – In a non collegiate event open to the San Diego running community, the UCSD men’s and women’s cross country teams turned in top performances, simultaneously using the meet as an opportunity to give its second-string athletes invaluable racing experience.

Senior Jesse Morrill led the Tritons, finishing first overall in the Ursula Rains 5K Race at Balboa Park on Oct. 3. The team placed five runners in the top 25 at the open meet.

Hosted by the San Diego Track Club, the 5K race drew many of the best amateur runners in the greater San Diego area and deviated from typical Triton meets in distance and competition: Both the men and women raced the 5K together, instead of the usual 8K for men and 6K for women.

“We have a great running community here in San Diego,” head coach Nate Garcia said. “I really liked the opportunity to get our team exposed to them, and them exposed to our team.”

Morrill, who is redshirting this season, finished the course in 15:09 to win the race by over 15 seconds — beating out San Marcos’ Nazario Romero. Senior Mike Wright was the next Triton finisher, recording a time of 16:02 to take 11th place.

Sophomore Alex Corliss, freshman Mike Rizzo and sophomore John Svet rounded out UCSD’s top finishes, coming in 16th, 20th and 21st, respectively.

All-American junior Bre Schofield returned after missing the previous meet on Sept. 26, and once again finished as UCSD’s top female runner. A time of 18:10 made her the sixth fastest woman in the race and earned her 66th place overall in the competition.

After watching from the sidelines for nearly two weeks with an illness, Schofield was happy to be racing again.

“To get out there and know what it feels like and know what I need to be doing was such a good thing to do before Triton [Classic],” Schofield said. “To get the experience in was definitely beneficial.”

Following Schofield were senior Jordana Henderson in 119th place and freshman Catherine Crisp in 128th place. Altogether, the race saw over 260 competitors.

The meet fell between the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Indiana on Sept. 26 and the upcoming Triton Classic on Oct. 10 — two of the Tritons’ biggest meets of the season. Garcia said he only allowed those that did not travel to Indiana in September to compete because he wanted to have his entire team fresh for the upcoming home meet.

With higher-profile races approaching in the coming week, the Ursula Rains 5K allowed UCSD to gain experience, and — at the very least — get reacquainted with race-day conditions.

“Most of the people who raced [at the Ursula Rains 5K] hadn’t raced since the meet on Sept. 12,” Garcia said. “We wanted to get them out there, basically as a confidence booster ahead of the Triton [Classic] next week.”

The Tritons who did not race in the Ursula Rains 5K volunteered instead to help with the logistics and setup of the meet.

“I felt like it was a good opportunity for our program, not only in the racing realm, but also as a way to gain exposure,” Garcia said.

The Tritons will race again at the Triton Classic on Oct. 10, their last home meet of the season.

Though they will be competing at the same event as the men, the women’s team will return to the normal 6K length, while the men will have their first competition on the 10K course — the distance at which they will have to compete in the conference and national championships.

The race also serves as the Tritons’ final tune-up before the California Collegiate Athletic Association championships on Oct. 24. The women begin their portion of the Triton Classic at 9 a.m. The men follow at 10 a.m.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].

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