Event: NCAA West Region Championships
Where: Eugene, Ore.
When: Saturday at 9:45 a.m. (men); 10:45 a.m. (women)
Who to watch: Junior Russ Pfaff finished second on the team at the 2008 NCAA Pre-Nationals as well as last year’s NCAA West Regional Championships.
At the regionals, the Clovis, Calif. native helped lead the Aggie men with an overall 49th place finish.
At the Big West Championships, his most recent race, Pfaff came in 19th place with a time of 24:50.5 in the 8K race.
Did you know? Two weeks ago at the Big West Conference Championships, sophomore Sarah Sumpter made history, taking the first ever conference individual title in UC Davis’ Division I history.
She captured this title with a season-best time of 20:34 in the 6K run.
Prior to her performance, Sumpter was named 2009 Big West Conference Women’s Athlete of the Year.
Preview: At the Big West Championships, the women captured second place in the 6K race while the men came in at third place in the 8K race.
The Aggies, who had hopes of acquiring the school’s first ever Big West title, fell short of achieving their goal and now have some unfinished business according to coach Drew Wartenburg.
Since the league championships, the Aggies have been relentless in preparing for the upcoming NCAA West Region Championships.
This weekend, the Aggies will be going up against some of the best competition in the country, making the possibility of getting to nationals that more difficult.
Two of those top teams that UC Davis will face off with are regional forces Stanford and Oregon.
The Aggies won’t be worried so much about their competition as they will be about staying healthy and remaining injury free.
At this point in the season the main emphasis for the Aggies is maintaining top physical condition.
“Physically in terms of sickness and injury we’re in a pretty good place,” Wartenburg said, “which is not always a given at this late stage of a season. If we can get through three more days without having half of the team fall sick then we’ll be ahead of where most folks are.”
The Aggie men will have to be especially physically and mentally prepared as their race is a 10K as opposed to the usual 8K run.
“The men add extra kilometers,” Warternburg said, “and that’s one where if teams are a little thin and also if they’re young, you can really be exposed. You’re adding six more really hard minutes of racing onto the men, which is a lot to ask.”
– Madeline Weeks