Oct. 29, 2011
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - With three runners in the top ten, including Sarah Sumpter's second-place finish, the UC Davis women's cross country team brought home their first-ever Big West Conference Championship on Saturday at the UC Riverside Ag/Ops Course in Riverside, Calif.
Sumpter clocked in at 20:33.7 in the women's 6K race, finishing just six seconds off Long Beach State's Rosa Del Toro who claimed the individual title.
UC Davis finished with 47 total points and was followed by second-place Long Beach State (61) and UC Santa Barbara which came in third with 62 points.
"The talk in the last week or two has been about the conference meet and a conference championship is a step on the way to another challenge that awaits in the regional meet," said head coach Drew Wartenburg. "That's the way we want the culture to be. We want the focus to be on conference, but this is a program that desperately wants to get people to the national stage and this year the women as a whole have a shot."
Led by Sumpter, the 2009 individual conference champion, the UC Davis women brought home the Aggies' second consecutive team title.
In it's short tenure in the Big West, UC Davis cross country has now brought home two team championships and two individual titles.
"(Sumpter) is the tip of the spear and the heart," said Wartenburg. "She got to the front in the lead pack and pushed the pace when she felt comfortable doing so. It was a great race up front. Where this group is and where she is individually right now, everyone is all about team. A year ago if anyone had told me she'd be second in conference after what she's been through you'd think 'We'll believe that when we see it.' It's an inspiring story."
Katie Fry and Kristina Taylor finished in the top 15 for UC Davis with the freshman Fry coming in 13th place in a time of 21:13.8. Taylor was 14th overall with a time of 21:14.3. Krista Drechsler finished in 16th with a time of 21:16.7 and Shannon Harcus rounded out the Aggie scoring, clocking in at 21:32.1 to finish in 28th.
Jonathan Peterson's fifth-place finish led the UC Davis men, who were sixth overall. Peterson recorded a time of 24:03.6 while Axel Stanovsky was the Aggies' No. 2 scorer, finishing 28th in a time of 24:50.3.
"We battled getting a full, healthy lineup together all season and it's tough to expect to run your best race when you haven't had each part together until they're expected to perform at their very best," said Wartenburg. "We had some challenges and it's a young group searching for confidence. It's hard to stay at the top and get there and we learned that this year. The group we move forward with two weeks from now, though, has a real shot at putting a race plan together and being successful at the regional meet."
Nathan Strum was 36th (25:12.3) and Trevor Halsted finished in 49th place (25:44.9). Grayson Hough came in 57th with a time of 26:14.6 while Alex Summers was 59th (26:22.7). Simon Graves finished just behind with his time of 26:23.9.
Gregor Lloyd-Smith recorded a time of 26:36.3 and Drew Peterson completed the Aggie men's lineup with his time of 26:52.0.
Cal Poly claimed the men's team title while UC Riverside's Chad Hall was the individual champion in a time of 23:41.9.
UC Davis will host the Doc Adams Open on Nov. 5 before heading to the NCAA West Regionals, hosted by Stanford, on Nov. 12.