Aggies split squads between Pre-Nationals, Santa Clara

Oct. 13, 2016

THIS WEEK…
UC Davis at NCAA Pre-Nationals
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
11:00 a.m. CT
LaVern Gibson National Championship Cross Country Course
Terre Haute, Ind.
Women's 6K Blue Race: 11:00 a.m. ET
Men's 8K Blue Race: 11:35 a.m. ET
Women's 6K White Race: 12:15 p.m. ET
Men's 8K White Race: 12:50 p.m. ET
Meet Information: Meet Information
Live Results: Live Scoring

UC Davis at Santa Clara Bronco Invitational
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
9:00 a.m.
Baylands Regional Park
Sunnyvale, Calif.
Men's 8K Invitational: 9:00 a.m.
Women's 6K Invitational: 9:45 a.m.
Men's 8K Open: 10:30 a.m.
Women's 6K Open: 11:15 a.m.
Meet Information: Meet Information
Results: Live Results

DAVIS, Calif. -- Coming off a pair of fifth-place finishes at last weekend's Capital Cross Challenge, the UC Davis men's and women's cross country teams will split their squads this week as the women head to Terre Haute, Ind., to run at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, while the men will send the majority of its squad to the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale, Calif.

This season marks the sixth consecutive season -- and seven of their previous nine seasons at the Division I level -- that the Aggies will send at least one team to the NCAA Pre-National meet, which begins with the first of six races on the day: the women's seeded 6K blue race at 11:00 a.m. ET. UC Davis, one of 70 women's teams entered into the event on Saturday, will race in the women's unseeded white race at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Last year, the UC Davis squads posted their best-ever Division I finishes at the meet in Louisville, Ky., as the Aggie men finished second, and the women fourth. In the last six years, UC Davis has covered the LaVern Gibson National Championship Cross Country Course three times in 2011, 2013, and 2014, with the women posting their best finish at the venue in 2011 (sixth place) and the men finishing 13th in 2014.

The Aggies will send a mostly underclass group to Indiana, led by seniors Hannah Kirkegaard and Nicole Lane. Sophomores Katherine Gallaher and Megan MacGregor, along with freshmen Haley Adel, Sarah Anderson, Julia Lemak, and Kristen Leung, round out the group.

Kirkegaard is on a roll to start her senior season, finishing among the top 10 in all three of her previous races this season, including fifth at the 5K Bill Dellinger Invitational in Oregon, and eighth at the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento two weeks ago. The Ventura, Calif., native set a new collegiate cross country best at the 6K distance in Sacramento, crossing the line in 21:32.9 and shaving 44 seconds off her previous best of 22:17 set at the Doc Adams Open last year.

Lemak missed the race in Sacramento but has a pair of top-10 finishes to her name this season after ending the morning second at the Aggie Open and ninth at the Dellinger Invitational. After missing the first two competitions of the season, Gallaher made her debut at the Capital Cross Challenge, finishing 37th among the 174-woman field, while Leung posted a top-20 finish in her first 6K race of the year, crossing in a time of 21:17.6 to finish 18th.

Meanwhile, a little more local, the UC Davis men will send 11 student-athletes to Sunnyvale, Calif., 10 of those competing in the invitational race at 9:00 a.m., and another in the men's open race at 10:30 a.m., while the women will also have five competitors in the invitational race at 9:45 a.m.

Sophomore Jordy Ceja has led the way for the Aggies in each of the team's first three races, finishing among the top 15 -- including a ninth-place finish at the Dellinger Invitational and posting a season-best time of 24:10.3 at the Capital Cross Challenge two weeks ago. The latter was better than a minute faster than his time at the same meet over the same course last season, when his time of 25:16.9 was good enough for 14th.

Every Aggie that raced in Sacramento posted a season-best 8K time, but none more than junior Austin Goins, who improved his time at the Dellinger Invitational by a minute and 14 seconds, crossing the line in 28th with a time of 24:41.2.

Alongside Ceja and Goins, upperclassmen Oliver Abundez-Dominguez, Ryan Dimick, and Jon Horvath, will be joined by freshmen Salem Bouhassoun, Fenn Hoppe, Zachary Katzman, Charlie Pope, Anthony Sanchez, and Xolan Brown. With the majority of the squad headed to Indiana, the Aggie women will also send a quintet to the Bronco Invitational, as seniors Olivia Goins and Clara MacLeod will be joined by junior Brynna Thigpen and freshmen Emily Antonino and Mandy Wainfan.