Looking to repeat as the Big West Champions, the women’s cross country team needed their top racer to perform as she did last year. Senior Sarah Sumpter led UC Davis in every race she ran last year, and would need to repeat similar results this year.
Sumpter didn’t get the same results she did last year. She was better.
At the Pac-12 preview right before fall quarter, Sumpter placed second with a 17:07 on the 5k course to lead UC Davis to a second-place team result in the strong field.
Sumpter then followed with a solid 12th place finish at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet in Kentucky, improving from her 25th slot at last year’s Pre-Nationals meet. Sumpter’s time of 20:15.0 on the 6k course headed the Aggies’ tenth-place finish ahead of some of the top teams in the nation. A second place finish at the Big West Championship this year was the same as she did in 2011, but she shaved off a whole minute of her time.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, they were edged by Cal Poly for the Big West Conference Championship, despite Sumpter’s time of 19:44.4. Sumpter was complemented by junior Alycia Cridebring, doing their part in the second place finish at the league meet for UC Davis. Ultimately, the Aggies didn’t get the at-large selection into the NCAA Championship selection they were hoping for, but it cannot be said that Sumpter didn’t play her part.
For all of her achievements, Sumpter was named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region team. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to achieve what Sumpter did in a year. But to do it consistently over the past couple years takes devotion.
For all of this, The Aggie is awarding Sarah Sumpter the Female Athlete of the Quarter.
— Matthew Yuen