Smith, Reed run down NCAA Championship trips

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. Scott Smith and Crystal Reed will qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships after running terrific races at Saturday’s NCAA West Regional, which was held at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ore.

Smith finished the 10k course in 30:42.60, which landed him fourth place, All-Region honors and qualification to the NCAA Championships. He was the top runner outside of the Stanford team, which took the top three spots.

Conditions were a bit challenging, as the weather was sunny but the course was muddy. It is difficult to move up on a muddy course, and Smith stayed with the front pack to avoid being left behind. The pack began to fall apart as the race progressed, but Smith stuck with the group and held on for fourth.

Reed employed a similar strategy by establishing good position early in the women’s race. She was in a chase pack not far behind the leaders, and she kicked hard at the end to advance to 12th place, which gives her All-Region honors and qualification to the NCAA Championships. Her time over the 6k course was 21:18.95.

Julian deRubira also picked up All-Region honors on the men’s side after covering the course in 31:13.49 to take 19th, which was just outside the qualification cutoff for Nationals.

The Gaucho women scored 228 points to finish sixth, behind Arizona’s 202 points and ahead of UC Davis’s 232 points. The team will await Sunday’s at-large announcements to see if they qualify for Nationals. Gaucho assistant coach Avery Blackwell said the team’s chances would have been better had they finished fifth.

“I’m sure the women are a little bummed to finish 26 points away from fifth, but this was still a good day for the team,” said Blackwell.

“I think several of them would say they had a sub-par race, but their groups looked good.”

Amanda Moreno was the first Gaucho to finish after Reed. She covered the course in 22:02.28, which placed her 43rd. She was directly followed by Breanne Strenkowski, who was 44th at 22:02.65. The other scorers were Megan Petkovic (67th, 22:30.02) and Andrea Jacobs (70th, 22:33.73).

The Gaucho men scored 217 points to tie for eighth with Cal. They were behind UCLA’s 207 points and ahead of Washington State’s 268 points. The first four Gaucho runners all finished in the top-50, but injury troubles hampered the team’s final scorer.

“Our team was really good today, but we just didn’t have a fifth runner,” remarked Blackwell.

“Unfortunately Bhavik [Kanzaria] has been injured all week, which knocked him out of his rhythm. It hurt us, but that’s the reality of the sport.”

Smith and deRubira were the top two runners for the Gauchos, and they were followed by sophomore Juan Paredes, who took 38th at 31:47.97. Next came Waleed Totari, who was 44th at 31:56.79. Kanzaria struggled to an 121st place finish at 33:39.18.

Top-ranked Stanford won the men’s race with 27 points. They were followed by Portland with 84, and Oregon with 109. The individual winner was Chris Derrick of Stanford, who ran 30:38.84.

Top-ranked Washington won the women’s race with 25 points. They were followed by Oregon with 66, and Stanford with 94. The individual winner was Kendra Schaaf of Washington, who ran 20:41.70.

The NCAA Championships will be held on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.