Event: NCAA Western Regional Championships
Where: Stanford Golf Course – Palo Alto, Calif.
When: Saturday at 11 a.m.
Who to watch: At the Big West Conference Championships two weeks ago, senior captain Kim Conley placed seventh to earn all-Big West honors.
The seventh-place showing was actually Conley’s worst finish of the season, as she was racing with an injured Iliotibial band.
“She had a gutsy, gutsy race at conference,” said head coach Drew Wartenburg. “Whether people knew or not that she was coming in less than 100 percent, I don’t know. But she still stepped up and ran for the team that day.”
Did you know? The Aggies will be racing four nationally ranked teams and three others receiving votes, including No. 1 Washington, No. 2 Oregon and the defending national champion in No. 11 Stanford.
Preview: Though a sub-par race at the Big West Championships dropped the Aggies’ regional ranking to 13th, they are expecting a completely different outcome than last year’s 17th-place finish at the Western Regional.
“We’re looking forward to going into a race that’s over 30 teams and sort of immersing ourselves in the size of the field,” Wartenburg said. “Hopefully, we’ll get back to where we did some solid pack running earlier in the season.
With Conley and senior Kaitlin Gregg leading the way, depth has been a huge part of UC Davis’ success throughout the season.
“With our depth, we have those interchangeable parts where any of our top seven can – on a given day – be our scoring finishers,” Gregg said. “Hopefully, everyone will be hitting on all cylinders on Saturday.”
If everything clicks, the Aggies will maintain a slim chance of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Last year, five teams from the West Regional qualified for the national championships.
Additionally, individual honors are on the line for the top 25 finishers. According to the LetsRun.com preview, Conley and Gregg are picked to finish 20th and 22nd, respectively.
“It’s an individual goal to be all-region,” Gregg said. “What I need to do to hold up my end of the bargain for the team. We want to go out there and do exactly what we’ve been doing all season – run hard from the front and keep the 1-5 gap as small as possible.”
– Alex Wolf-Root