The UC Davis cross country runners pieced together strong performances in their respective races this weekend at the Big West Conference meet at UC Riverside.
The men’s 8K course saw the Aggie men finish in fourth place as a team, an improvement from last year’s sixth place.
On the women’s side, last year’s champions UC Davis had a very impressive race, but were dethroned by Cal Poly by a very slim margin. The Aggies couldn’t defend their Big West cross country title and finished a very respectable second place.
Sophomore Trevor Halsted was the top finisher for UC Davis when he clocked in a 24:23.3 sixth-place finish. Freshman Brandon Pugh completed the course in 13th place, several spots ahead of freshman Cody Nguyen in 22nd, the next Aggie runner to finish.
Junior Nathan Strum put in a 27th-place finish with a time of 25:37 while freshman Jordon Rushing closed in three seconds later for the 28th spot.
The Aggies finished with a team score of 94, while the top finisher Cal Poly swept the field. The Mustang’s top-five performers were all in the top-10 places.
Sarah Sumpter finished in second place in the women’s 6K course and was followed closely by junior Alycia Cridebring in third and sophomore Katie Fry in fifth, but the Aggies couldn’t put together the last two finishes that would put them at the top of the pack.
The Aggies’ team score of 46 was just below the Cal Poly score of 43, which was a product of finishers in first, seventh, eighth, 11th and 16th.
The Aggies’ freshman Christine Hoffmann clocked in at 17th and sophomore Raquel Lambdin put in a time of 21:21.9 to finish 19th.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, they were unable to steal the Big West title again as Cal Poly swept both the men’s and women’s side of the races.
Sumpter lowered her time from last year on the UC Riverside Agriculture Course by almost a minute with a 19:44.4 time, but still placed over 30 seconds behind the impressive finish by Cal Poly’s freshman, Laura Hollander.
The previous record on the course was 19:57 set in 2010, a time that Sumpter shattered by 13 seconds, but was blown away by Hollander’s 19:12.6.
Though a heartbreaker for the women, both cross country teams have much to look forward to for the remainder of the year.
The Aggies will host the Doc Adams Open at Putah Creek Reserve Course next week before the NCAA West Regional meet, which will be held in Seattle the following weekend.
— Matthew Yuen