In the final meet on the west coast for the UC Davis cross country teams, junior Sarah Sumpter and sophomore Trevor Halsted led the Aggies in their respective races.
The women’s team placed sixth overall in the NCAA Division I West Regional, while the men closed at 15th on the Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle, Wash.
UC Davis placed eighth last year on the women’s side at Stanford and improved on that finish this year. Sumpter put up a time of 20:03 for 13th place, a couple slots ahead of junior Alycia Cridebring’s 16th place finish.
Just 28 seconds later, sophomore Katie Fry finished the race in 33rd. Freshman Christine Hoffmann finished 47th for UC Davis with a time of 20:51 and senior Lauren Wallace rounded out the Aggies’ lineup with a 21:14 68th place finish.
“The Aggie women put together their finest team effort of the season, starting with an aggressive and well-executed start,” said head coach Drew Wartenburg.
Though the Aggies were not in the top two and thus miss the automatic qualifying spots into the NCAA Division I Championships, they still have hopes for making it into the national race.
UC Davis’ sixth place out of 28 teams was still better than No. 29 UCLA, which finished in seventh place in Seattle.
On the men’s side, UC Davis grabbed 15th place out of 26 teams, due in part to Halsted’s finish in the 20th slot.
Halsted posted a 30:12 time on the men’s 10k course for the second fastest time of all Big West racers. The Aggies didn’t have another runner finish for a while, until freshman Brandon Pugh posted a 65th place finish with a time of 30:50.
Freshman Amar Dholakia got his feet wet with a finish in 107th place while junior Nathan Strum crossed the line in 109th.
“We have known all season that we stand as one of the youngest teams in the region, and for this group to put a guy on the podium and creep into the final ranking with a top-15 finish is a great building block for the future,” Wartenburg said. “Overall, today provided positive takeaways as we turn the page and turn the men’s attention toward the track.”
Looking forward, some of the Aggies’ women runners have a chance to compete in the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Kent.
“We’ll … see if we got any individuals or the team into the national meet, and right now we’re sitting right on the outside of the bubble on both fronts,” Wartenburg said. “Regardless, you can’t ask for more than for a team to run its finest race at season’s end.”
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at email@example.com.