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Monday, October 25, 2021

Cross Country: Aggie men win first ever Big West Conference title

If you have been following the cross country team, you know by now that Jonathan Peterson is very fast. In fact, you could say the same thing about Calvin Thigpen and Jonathan Sees. The Aggies are not short on speed on the men’s side.

The rest of the Big West Conference found this out the hard way on Saturday, as the Aggies traveled to Riverside for the Big West Championship meet.

For the first time in his tenure, coach Drew Wartenburg led the men’s squad to a team championship thanks to the quick feet of Peterson, Thigpen and Sees.

“We went out there and took care of business,” Wartenburg said. “We knew the work we needed to do and got it done.”

Wartenburg mentioned that the team actually crossed two goals off of its list on Saturday – the first being a team championship and the second an individual championship.

Coming off of his record setting performance at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara two weeks ago, Peterson shot ahead on Saturday and came home with an individual championship for the Aggies after a first-place finish in the 8K race.

Following Peterson were seniors Thigpen and Sees, who finished in third place and sixth place, respectively. Three Aggie runners finishing in the top ten was enough to outlast UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara for the team championship.

“This is something we’ve been talking about for four years,” Wartenburg said. “To finally bring home the team victory is the perfect affirmation of what we’ve been working for all season.”

For the women, Krista Dreschler and Caitlin Fitzgerald led the way once again for the Aggies, finishing sixth and 17th, respectively.

“The women’s race was extremely competitive as always,” said Wartenburg.

Because both Dreshler and Fitzgerald finished in the top 20, UC Davis is in a good spot looking ahead to the NCAA West Regional Championships in two weeks.

Peterson’s individual championship is the second in as many years for the Aggies, as he continues the dominance first laid out by Sarah Sumpter on the women’s side in 2009.

“This is a huge step forward for us and it really puts some wind in our sails for regionals,” Wartenburg said.

The Aggies have been making noise in the Big West all season, and it’s finally time to celebrate with a new trophy in their case.

JOHNNY PARSONS can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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