Aug. 31, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - The UC Davis women's cross country team, led by Alycia Cridebring, swept the top four spots while Trevor Halsted won the men's race by nine seconds as the Aggies opened the season on Friday at their own Aggie Open at the Putah Creek Reserve Course in Davis.
The women's team totaled 15 points to claim a dominating victory over Sacramento State and Fresno State. The Hornets were second with 61 points while the Bulldogs came in third with 64 points.
On the men's side, UC Davis was edged by a mere point by Sacramento State, who finished with 35 points to the Aggies' 36 points. Fresno State was third with 55 points.
"The task before the women today was to control the pace with a group in the lead pack while letting everyone else key off that foursome," said head coach Drew Wartenburg. "A couple of runners off the front gave us the chance to chase for much of the race while sticking to the plan, and that provided a great exercise in discipline while forcing us to remain fully engaged in the race."
Cridebring clocked in with a time of 14:05 to finish just ahead of Aggie teammate Sarah Sumpter who finished in a time of 14:08. Kristine Lozoya and freshman Christine Hoffman finished third and fourth, respectively, with Lozoya recording a time of 14:08.5 and Hoffman clocking in at 14:09.4 in her UC Davis debut.
The group overtook unattached runner Lauren Mugnaini who jumped out to a strong lead and seemed to be in control of the race from early on. She finished fifth.
The Aggie women commanded the top ten with Katie Fry finishing sixth (14:22.9), Lauren Wallace placing seventh (14:27.2) and Melinda Zavala coming in tenth place with a time of 14:37.4. The next two spots belonged to UC Davis as well with Shannon Harcus coming in 11th (14:37.9) and Hilary Teaford finishing 12th (14:38.4).
Halsted's final time of 18:10.9 was nine seconds faster than second-place finisher Reesey Byers of Sacramento State, who clocked in at 18:19.1. Grayson Hough and freshman Brandon Pugh also finished in the top-10 as Hough finished fourth in a time of 18:22.5 and Pugh was eighth in a time of 18:36.8.
"The men's result provides both some encouraging and motivating impetus," said Wartenburg. "On a day when we didn't talk in depth about an ideal team result, to run close to a veteran Sac State team gives us a good indication of where we stand as a very young team. At the same time, we also can't afford to let opportunities for a team win to slip from our grasp, and that was a bit of a disappointment that should give us something to focus immediate attention on."
Nathan Strum was 13th in a time of 18:49.9 while freshman Amar Dholakia was 15th in a time of 18:53.2. Cody Nguyen and Eric Neill both made their Aggie debuts as well, finishing 20th and 21st overall.
In total, eight Aggie women and eight men ran in their first collegiate race.
"We had some freshmen like Brandon Pugh, Amar Dholakia and Christine Hoffmann step into important roles on both the men's and women's side," said Wartenburg. "This type of meet, where athletes have the chance to race in a small field where all the little points battles count, is an excellent way to open the competitive season."
UC Davis will next compete on Sept. 8 at the Hornet Jamboree, hosted by Sacramento State.