Men’s Cross Country Finish Ninth, Women Eighth

    Although a week ago the two teams posted third and fourth place finishes, Regionals proved too much for the Tritons as the women came in eighth and the men’s team finished in ninth. With three of the top finishing schools, fellow CCAA opponents, the Tritons were well prepared for high-level competition.

    The top performer for the Tritons on the women’s side was sophomore Chia Chang, who finished eighth overall with a pace of 5:50.1 per mile, just 15 seconds slower than the champion competing for Anchorage Alaska, Ruth Keino — a native of Kapcheno, Kenya. Alaska
    Anchorage took the women’s side with four runners finishing in the top eight.

    Coach Nate “Ronald” Garcia was happy with the women’s performance, which showed significant improvement from last year.
    “That’s all that you can hope for [going into a meet],” Garcia said.

    On the men’s side, junior Matt Lenehan led the Triton men with a mile pace of 5:15.6, good for 37th overall in a field of 111 athletes. Lenehan was closely followed by seniors John Svet and Alex Corliss, and junior Kellen Levy — all coming within several seconds of Lenehan.
    Alaska Anchorage won on the men’s side as well, with team leader Micah Chelimo who ran a quick 30:19. He was closely followed by fellow Kenyans, Alfred and Issac Kangogo, in fourth and 11th.

    The Tritons were happy to have improved their times from last year, overcoming adversity in the rain to compete well and make it to the next level.

    UCSD will look to improve in the following year with a roster filled with young runners — during the pre-season training many returning athletes were cut in favor of younger freshmen athletes with more talent. The very young team this year will only improve in the years to come.

    The fact that this young team did so well speaks to the effective coaching of Garcia. Garcia’s gamble in cutting his seniors may have seemed unfair in the beginning of the season, but now seems like it is starting to pay off.

    With returning All-American Chia Chang only a sophomore and many fast freshmen finishing in the top half of the field at nationals, look for the Triton women to have a exceptional season next year.

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