Big West Championship Results
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Both the Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country teams used its second appearance of the season on the Ag/Ops Course to record a solid effort at the Big West Championships on Saturday, as the race was held in Riverside, Calif.
The championships were hosted in Riverside for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, and it suited the Titans well as both the men and women concluded the championship in fifth-place, respectively, paced by senior Tejera Dial, while sophomore Jose Penaloza led the men's contingent.
For the women, Fullerton's fifth-place score (149 points), was just two points shy of last season's 147 points that marked the best finish for the program since tying for fourth in 2008. That makes it back-to-back seasons that the lady Titans have concluded the conference meet in fifth.
Dial was the top Titan to finish the 6K course as her time of 21:41.3 was good for 18th. She was followed by junior Emily Taylor, who shortly crossed the finish line in 25th place in a time of 21:51.0. The top seven women finishers scored which also included junior Ana Valdovinos (30st; 21:58.0), senior Tijerra Lynch (38th; 22:29.5), sophomore Arianna Fuentes (46th; 22:56.8), sophomore Pamela Pelayo (48th; 23:00.6), junior transfer Kim Melechinsky (50th; 23:08.3).
"The women's team looked good early on, but we tailed off a bit toward the end of the competition," head coach John Elders said. "Tejera Dial really posted a breakthrough performance to lead the women. Overall it was a positive meet and I'm very proud of all our student-athletes."
Katie Bathgate completed the race in a time of 23:20.4, placing 53rd in the championships, followed by senior Celinda Mando, who finished in 57th with a time of 23:26.9.
The UC Davis women's team (37 points) clinched the title after edging out Cal Poly (66 points) who was the two-time defending champion. The Aggies placed five runners in the top-15 on the individual leaderboard. It was the Aggies fourth overall title, and junior Christine Hoffman (20:22.7) finished runner-up to UC Riverside senior Raquel Hefflin (20:12.6) who took home the individual championship.
For the men, the Titans' fifth-place finish matched the best for the program since 2006 when Fullerton recorded a fifth-place score in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Penaloza led the Titan squad, completing the 8K course in a time of 24:43.5. His 14th place tally was the best Titan finish at a conference meet since 2006 when Jordan Horn (26:29.0) posted a 10th place mark. Freshman Samuel Garcia and sophomore Daniel Ramirez were the next Titans to score as Garcia finished in 20th (24:48.0) and Ramirez 29th (25:11.8).
"I'm really proud of our guys as we were able to muster up one of the best finishes over the past eight seasons," Elders said. "Jose (Penaloza) ran a really solid race, while we expect a strong performance from him as he also yearns to run at an elite level on the big stage. Sam (Garcia) also posted a good race, overcoming many obstacles and showing a great deal perseverance to get to this point."
Junior Jeff Little was the next Titan to cross the finish line in a time of 25:24.2, good for 37th. Sophomore David Ramirez completed the race in a time of 25:24.2, finishing in 38th, followed by sophomore Dalton Hall, who crossed the finish line in 47th (25:45.8). The final Titan to score for Fullerton was senior Brandon Cook, who completed the race in a time of 25:50.7 (50th). Senior Anthony Castellon rounded out the Titans in 56th with a time of 26:16.4.
UC Santa Barbara clinched the men's cross-country team title, snapping Cal Poly's bid for a fifth consecutive Big West title. The Gauchos produced the top two finishers in fellow juniors Bryan Guijarro (23:47.4) and Anthony Ortolan (23:48.1).
Cal State Fullerton will next compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships to be held in Stanford, Calif., and hosted by Stanford on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Stanford Golf Course.
2014 Big West Championships
1. UC Davis (36)
2. Cal Poly (66)
3. UC Santa Barbara (86)
4. UC Riverside (95)
5. Cal State Fullerton (149)
6. CSUN (150)
7. Long Beach State (177)
8. UC Irvine (194)
1. UC Santa Barbara (21)
2. Cal Poly (49)
3. UC Riverside (95)
4. Long Beach State (114)
5. Cal State Fullerton (129)
6. UC Davis (144)
7. UC Irvine (197)
8. CSUN (218)