Aggies leave the Mainland for Big West Championships

Freshman Kristen Leung and the Aggies head to Hawai'i this weekend for the 2016 Big West Conference Championships. (Photo courtesy Jim Sullivan)
Oct. 27, 2016

UC Davis at Big West Conference Championships
Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016
Kahuku Golf Course
Kahuku, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Men's 8K: 10 a.m. PT
Women's 6K: 10:45 a.m. PT
Meet Coverage: Big West Championship Page

DAVIS, Calif. -- Halloween on the Islands? Sounds like a nice perk for the UC Davis cross country teams, which head to Honolulu, Hawai'i, this weekend to compete at the 2016 Big West Conference Championships hosted by the University of Hawai'i on Saturday (Oct. 29) at the Kahuku Golf Course.

This year's championships will be only the eighth time that the conference cross country title will be decided on a course outside of the state of California dating back to 1969, and the first since North Texas hosted the event in 1998. Hawai'i will serve as a host for the second time, and its first since 1992, when the Rainbow Wahine finished fifth on the women's side.

For those making the trip to the Islands, the men will kick things off on Saturday morning with their 8K race at 10 a.m. PT, while the women will follow with their 6K race at 10:45 a.m. Admission to the event is free.

Saturday's races will feature a pair of schools ranked among the region's best according to the latest USTFCCCA polls released on Oct. 17. Cal Poly's women's team, which is receiving 13 votes in the national poll, stands ninth in the region, while the men's team is 10th. UC Santa Barbara also has both squads among the top 15 in the region, with the women standing 11th, and the men ranked 14th.

Two years removed from their second Big West Conference title, the UC Davis women will look to regain their spot atop the league podium after finishing third last season behind top-10 finishes from Erika Barr (third) and Christine Hoffman (ninth). The Aggies have finished no lower than third in seven of their nine seasons as members of the conference -- including each of the last five years.

In addition, Barr's finish in 2015 gave UC Davis a top-three individual finisher in each of those five seasons, joining Sarah Sumpter in 2011 and 2012, Katie Fry in 2013, Christine Hoffmann in 2014. Overall, the Aggies have had 18 runners finish among the top 10 since their first Big West meet in 2007 -- including four en route to their title in 2014.

It's been two weeks since the women last took the course, finishing 18th among a difficult field at the 2016 NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. The break has given UC Davis time to heal after the Aggies had to run without two of their top runners in Hannah Kirkegaard and Julia Lemak, who had to drop out of the race early due to injury. Freshman Kristin Leung was the first across the line for UC Davis in Indiana, posting a time of 22:20.2 to log her second-fastest 6K time of the season and finish 49th.

Only three runners from last year's Big West meet return for the 2016 edition as senior Nicole Lane finished 18th, senior Clara MacLeod was 29th, and sophomore Katherine Gallaher finished 46th. That trio will be joined by Leung, Kirkegaard, Lemak, Megan MacGregor, Haley Adel, and Sarah Anderson, this weekend.

On the men's side, the Aggies also finished third over the Riverside course at last season's championships, finishing in the top three for the second time in three years. UC Davis is coming off 10th-place finish at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in its last competition on Oct. 15, running seven of their eight entries for this weekend in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Only two runners that competed in last year's Big West Championships return for this year's meet as sophomore Jordy Ceja finished 35th and junior Austin Goins ended the day 47th. Ceja has led the way for the Aggies in 2016, finishing no lower than 12th in any of his four races this season, including an eighth-place finish at the Bronco Invitational in a cross country career-best time of 23:55.6.

Ceja and Goins will lead a youthful group that includes junior Oliver Abundez-Dominguez, freshman Salem Bouhassoun, freshman Fenn Hoppe, junior Jon Horvath, freshman Zachary Katzman, and freshman Charlie Pope.

2007 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Men (6th) / Women (5th)
2008 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (2nd) / Women (3rd)
2009 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (3rd) / Women (2nd)
2010 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (1st) / Women (5th)
2011 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (6th) / Women (1st)
2012 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (4th) / Women (2nd)
2013 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Men (3rd) / Women (2nd)
2014 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (6th) / Women (1st)
2015 - Riverside, Calif. - Men (3rd) / Women (3rd)

2007 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - None
2008 - Riverside, Calif. - K.C. Cody (8th), 24:39.9
2009 - Riverside, Calif. - Jon Peterson (7th), 24:09.6
2010 - Riverside, Calif. - Jon Peterson (1st), 23:40.2; Calvin Thigpen (3rd), 24:25.1; Jon Sees (6th), 24:30.7
2011 - Riverside, Calif. - Jon Peterson (5th), 24:03.5
2012 - Riverside, Calif. - Trevor Halsted (6th), 24:23.3
2013 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Brandon Pugh (3rd), 25:27.0; Trevor Halsted (8th), 25:42.9; Grayson Hough (10th), 26:11.3
2014 - Riverside, Calif. - None
2015 - Riverside, Calif. - Trevor Halsted (9th), 24:30.94

2007 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - None
2008 - Riverside, Calif. - Kaitlin Gregg (6th), 20:31.5; Kim Conley (7th), 20:31.5
2009 - Riverside, Calif. - Sarah Sumpter (1st), 20:30.0; Abbey Gallaher (7th), 21:00.9
2010 - Riverside, Calif. - None
2011 - Riverside, Calif. - Sarah Sumpter (2nd), 20:33.7; Kristine Lozoya (10th), 20:59.9
2012 - Riverside, Calif. - Sarah Sumpter (2nd), 19:44.4; Alycia Cridebring (3rd), 20:13.8; Katie Fry (5th), 20:24.6
2013 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Katie Fry (2nd), 21:49.5; Alycia Cridebring (7th), 22:08.4; Sarah Sumpter (8th), 22:08.7
2014 - Riverside, Calif. - Christine Hoffmann (2nd), 20:22.7; Hannah Kirkegaard (6th), 20:49.7; Raquel Lambdin (7th), 20:49.8; Clara MacLeod (9th), 20:57.5
2015 - Riverside, Calif. - Erika Barr (3rd), 20:38.71; 6. Christine Hoffmann (6th), 20:46.20