XC: Gaucho men dominate in winning Big West title

The UCSB men put together a record-breaking performance Saturday, winning the Big West Cross Country Championship with a 21-point effort. The Gauchos claimed four of the top-five positions and rounded out their scoring with a ninth-place finish at the UC Riverside course.

The 21 points set a school record and tied the fifth lowest team score in the 45 year history of the Big West Cross Country Championship. It was the program’s six conference title and fourth under coach Pete Dolan.

The UCSB women, led by senior Dani Moreno who placed fourth overall, finished third behind UC Davis and Cal Poly.

Bryan Guijarro won the men’s 8,000m race in a time of 23:47.4. Teammate Anthony Ortolan came in second with a time of 23:48.1. Bryce Rausa finished fourth in 24:08.8. Shyan Vaziri placed fifth in 24:14.7. Anthony Monroy completed the scoring, coming in ninth with time of 24:26.7.

“Not a lot had to be said,” Vaziri, the UCSB track record holder in the 1,500m, said. ” We were on point throughout the year. I think it showed because each race it seemed like everyone was prepared and knew what to do. We didn’t do anything different. We just executed.”

Said Rausa, only senior in uniform for the Gauchos: “After Pre Nationals, competing with the bigger teams, we knew we were ready to come out here and perform like we have all year.”

“We threw it all down. We raced for each other.” said Monroy.

As the runners flung out onto the final curve and sprinted wide open for the finish line, Guijarro and Ortolan were running side by side. In an epic duel for the top honors of the day. Guijarro came out on top but Ortolan put up a gallant fight, every muscle in his body straining over the final few meters.

“I really wanted to outkick Bryan. Today, he got me.” said Ortolan. “But in the end it’s all good.”

Moreno, who ran in the No. 1 spot for the Gaucho women in every meet of the season, placed fourth with a time of 20:45.7. Sarah Schreck placed 14th overall in 21:26.2. Senior Bailey Miller broke the tape in 19th with a time of 21:41.8. Maxine Goyette, a steeplechase specialist in the spring, came in 22nd with a time of 21:44.9 and Kelsey O’Connell finished the team scoring by coming in 27th with a 21:54.7 clip.

The Gauchos will now turn their attention to the NCAA West Regional.

“We’re definitely not done. One of our goals for this season was to go to nationals,” said Rausa.

Men’s Team Scores
UC Santa Barbara 21*
Cal Poly 49
UC Riverside 95
Long Beach St. 114
Cal St. Fullerton 129
UC Davis 144
UC Irvine 197
Cal St. Northridge 218

Women’s Team Scores
UC Davis 36
Cal Poly 66
UC Santa Barbara 86
UC Riverside 95
Cal St. Fullerton 149
Cal St. Northridge 150
Long Beach St. 177
UC Irvine 194
Hawaii 258