With less than a month remaining in the season, the UC Davis men’s cross country team pulled off a 6th-place finish at the 2014 Big West Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1.
Hosted at UC Riverside, the Championship marks the last big race before the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 14. UC Santa Barbara took the title with a total of 21 points and were pursued by Cal Poly, UC Riverside and Long Beach State, who scored 49, 95 and 114 points, respectively. The Aggies came in sixth place with 144 points, just behind CSU Fullerton (129) and in front of UC Irvine (197) and CSU Northridge (218).
Runners in NCAA cross country are assigned points based on their final placing, with more points signifying later finish times. Then, points for a team are added up, and the team’s final ranking is determined.
Chasing the elusive top ten spot after a fall within the first mile, junior Brandon Pugh came in 13th place with a time of 24:39.0, missing the slot by a little over 10 seconds. Close behind Pugh were juniors Jordon Rushing in 31st place, Amar Dholakia in 34th and Nicholas Ratto in 35th place, each finishing within five seconds of one another. Junior Cody Nguyen (25:37.2) and freshman Austin Goins (25:38.9) subsequently finished in 44th and 45th place respectively.
After the race, coach Devin Elizondo expressed disappointment with the results. “We hit some bumpy patches on the men’s side. Having our No. 1 fall in the first mile is tough in any race, especially a small field like a conference meet. Though Brandon [Pugh] recovered well, it wasn’t enough to break into the top 10. The fall notwithstanding, we still did not do enough in that race to fight with the leaders.”
UC Davis will host the upcoming Doc Adams Open Nov. 8, before the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 14.
“We will have another opportunity to race our Big West competition as well as others in our region,” Elizondo said in regards to the Doc Adams Open. “We know we can’t redo this performance, but two weeks will provide some time for us to fuel a comeback to make a final ranking in our region.”