UCSB’s Moreno, Ortolan earn conference Athlete of the Week distinctions

UC Santa Barbara’s Dani Moreno and Anthony Ortolan were named Big West Women’s and Men’s Cross Country Athletes of the Week respectively, the conference announced on Tuesday.

Moreno and Ortolan led the Gaucho men’s and women’s teams to first-place finishes at the Riverside Invitational on Sept. 14.

UCSB's Dani Moreno

UCSB’s Dani Moreno

Moreno, a junior, won the women’s 6k race in a time of 20:23.5, nearly 44 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Christine Cooperstein, her UCSB teammate. As a team, the Gauchos had 31 points to win the meet by 20 points.

“Dani has already established herself as one of the best runners in the Big West,” said head coach Pete Dolan. “She is primed to have another great season.”

On the men’s side, Ortolan ran the 8k UC Riverside Agricultural Operations Course in 24:24.8 to finish fourth overall but first among Big West runners. In fact, the sophomore from Pleasant Hill, Calif., led a Gaucho contingent that finished 4-5-6 and helped the team to a 54-79 win over Southern Utah. There were 23 schools competing in the meet.

“Anthony has broken through and has become one of the best in the Big West in two short years,” Dolan said. “He handled himself extremely well in the Riverside race and I expect more good things to come.”

In his first meet of the year, UCSB’s Lagoon Open Dual Meet against Cal Poly, Ortolan won the men’s title.

Both Gaucho teams return to competitioin on Saturday, Sept. 28 when they travel to the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.