A Look Back At The 2017 Cross Country Season
Big West Cross Country Final 2017 Weekly Release
A surprise champion and a Central Coast sweep highlighted another outstanding cross country season for Big West schools.
• A repeat champion and a return to glory were the story in Riverside as the Cal Poly men and the UC Santa Barbara women won the 2017 Big West Cross Country titles.
The Mustangs won their second straight men’s title and fifth in seven seasons. The squad posted 29 points on the way to the title, the third time in the last four Championship runs that the squad posted fewer than 30 points.
On the women’s side, the Gauchos’ 45 points delivered the first title for the program since 2010. They barely outlasted Cal Poly for the title as the Mustangs amassed 47 points.
• The men’s 8K individual race winner at the Big West Championship was a bit of a surprise as UC Davis’ Thomas Madden was the victor in 24:13.7. He is the first Aggie to win the men’s race since Jon Peterson in 2010. Madden, a graduate transfer from the University of Virginia, was running in only his second race for UCD and parlayed the crown into strong showings at the West Region Championship and NCAA Championship.
• UC Santa Barbara senior Jenna Hinkle had an exception season for the Gauchos, highlighted by a 17:41.8 effort in the 5K at the UCSB Gaucho Invitational, a 19:59 in the 6K at the UCR Invitational and a 19:17.9 at the Bill Dellinger Invitational. That all led to a Big West 6K Championship winning time of 20:17.1, a year after she finished second at the league meet. Hinkle’s Athlete of the Year honor is the first for the Gaucho program since Amanda Moreno won the crown in 2010. That same year is also the last time a women’s Gaucho runner won the 6K at the league meet (Moreno).
• Cal Poly’s Swarnjit Boyal and Madden punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships after strong showings at the NCAA West Regional meet.
Boyal finished 10th in the men’s 10K, crossing the finish line in 29:47.2. Madden finished in 16th in 29:52.2. Both earned at-large bids to the NCAAs, claiming two of the four available spots from the West Regional. The senior duo competed well in the national meet, as Madden was the higher finisher of the two, finishing 72nd overall in 30:27.5 over the 10K course. Boyal wrapped up the race in 211th, crossing the finish in 31:48.7.
• Mikayla Florez picked up a bit of history for Long Beach State as the junior captured first place in the 4K at the Pepperdine Invitational in 14:41.96. She is the first LBSU women’s runner to win a meet since Rosa Del Toro claimed the Aztec Invitational title in 2010.
• Cal State Fullerton had a solid cross country campaign, highlighted by a sweep of the Mark Covert Classic, third place by the men at the UCR Invitational, fourth by the men at the Capital Cross Challenge and top two showings at the Highlander Invitational. At the league meet, the Titan women finished in third which was their best showing at the Big West Championship since 1992. The men’s squad finished also finished third which was their second straight top three showing at the conference meet.
• The Central Coast schools was well represented in the cross country major awards as five of the six winners came from either Cal Poly or UC Santa Barbara.
The men’s awards saw Yousef Baddour of UC Santa Barbara win the Freshman of the Year, while Cal Poly’s Mark Conover claimed Coach of the Year accolades. UC Davis’ Thomas Madden broke the Central Coast stranglehold as he claimed the Athlete of the Year honor. The women’s awards were led by UC Santa Barbara’s Jenna Hinkle who claimed the Athlete of the Year award. Freshman of the Year belongs to Cal Poly’s Sierra Brill, while Pete Dolan of UCSB won the Coach of the Year.