The Cal Poly men's and women's cross-country teams finished 12th and 13th respectively at the NCAA West Regional Championships. | Tony Mastres/Courtesy Photo

As fall season sports wrap up and winter sports begin, Cal Poly athletics teams face a busy weekend. Ten events are scheduled between Thursday and Sunday and one more could be added if the men’s soccer team takes care of business Wednesday night.

The men’s basketball team begins its long weekend Friday night with a matchup against perennial Division I powerhouse Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) in the Maui Invitational Opening Round in Las Vegas. The Mustangs finished last season with a 13-16 record, but return three starters and last season’s top five scorers. Though expectations are high around campus for the ensuing season, the Mustangs were selected to finish sixth in the Big West Conference media poll.

After the trip to Las Vegas, the Mustangs head to Los Angeles on Sunday for a nationally televised matchup against UCLA. Fresh off a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, UCLA was selected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 Conference media poll.

Beginning head coach Joe Callero’s seventh year, the Mustangs defeated Division II Cal State San Bernadino 73-60 last Thursday in Mott Athletics Center. Senior guard David Nwaba led the way for the Mustangs with a team high of 19 points and nine rebounds.

Both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams also look to continue their seasons’ successes at the West Coast Regionals in Seattle. The women’s team won the Big West Conference championship and the men’s side finished a respectable second place on Halloween morning.

Since the conference championships, the Mustangs have won a slew of awards. Big West Conference coaches voted freshmen Peyton Bilo and Garrett Migliozzi the winners of the Freshmen of the Year awards. Head coach Mark Conover received the women’s cross-country Coach of the Year award, his 14th time winning the award between the men’s and women’s teams.

Bilo finished second overall in the conference championship meet with a 6-kilometer time of 20:36.87. Migliozzi finished sixth on the men’s side with an 8-kilometer time of 24:25.50.

The Cal Poly football team heads to UC Davis for its lone rivalry game of the season, the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe. The team’s season motto, “Faceless except for Davis,” comes to a head as the Mustangs (3-6, 2-4 Big Sky) take on the Aggies (1-8, 1-5). UC Davis’ lone victory came against Northern Arizona on Oct. 10.

The Aggies dashed Cal Poly’s playoff hopes last season with a 48-35 win in Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Going into the matchup, the 6-4 Mustangs had an outside chance at making the FCS playoffs, but the 1-8 Aggies had other plans. The Aggies racked up 564 yards of offense on the Mustangs’ home turf before bringing the Golden Horseshoe back to Davis.

Cal Poly’s women’s basketball team, volleyball team and wrestling team all compete in a pair of events this weekend.

The women’s basketball team begins its season with a trip to Texas to take on Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and Texas Rio Grande Valley in the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Islanders Classic tournament. Cal Poly is coming off of a 15-14 season and a trip to the Big West Conference quarterfinals. The Mustangs defeated Corpus Christi 63-48 last season.

The Mustangs are selected to finish third in the Big West Conference preseason media poll and return seniors Lisa Marie Sanchez and Beth Balbierz in the backcourt.

The Cal Poly volleyball team (17-6, 9-3 Big West) looks to bounce back from a loss to UC Davis at home last Saturday. The Mustangs have matches on the road this weekend: one on Friday at UC Riverside and one on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton. Cal Poly swept both teams in matches earlier this season.

Both matchups should be tune-ups for the Mustangs’ Nov. 19 matchup against Hawaii. UC Riverside (9-16, 4-8) has the most formidable opponent for the Mustangs this weekend, but still ranks sixth in the conference standings. On the other side, Cal State Fullerton (0-23, 0-11) is yet to win a match this season.

The Cal Poly wrestling team continues its season with the weekend’s lone home event on Friday against Drexel. The Mustangs fell 35-6 in their Pac-12 Conference opener against Stanford on Nov. 2, but bounced back with a 29-8 nonconference win over San Francisco State last Saturday. Following Friday’s matchup, the Mustangs travel to Fresno for the Roadrunner Open, hosted by Cal State Bakersfield.

Though all but one event is on the road this weekend, it should prove to be a pivotal weekend as fall sports look to finish their seasons strong in time for playoffs and winter sports look to hit the ground running.

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