Jake Ritter has now won three straight Big West championships and will represent Cal Poly at the national championships. Credit: Courtesy | Raymond Tran, Cal Poly Athletics

After a men’s and women’s sweep of the Big West championship, the teams took eighth and 12th place, respectively, at the NCAA West Regionals on Friday, Nov. 11 at University Place, Wash. 

It was a solid showing for the Mustangs, as 11 individuals recorded personal best times. 

There were terrific personal performances from 11 Mustangs, who all recorded personal best at the meet. 

The Men’s Team

Graduate Jake Ritter continued his season and career-long tear by leading the Mustangs with the highest placement from a Cal Poly athlete at a West Regional since 2017. The three-time Big West champion ran a 28:43.30 10K to place 12th overall and secure a spot in the NCAA Championships. 

Redshirt junior John Bennett placed 36th with a time of  29:16.50, and right behind him was redshirt junior Xian Shively finishing in 37th place (29:17.80). 

Sophomore Aidan McCarthy took 51st (29:34.0) while redshirt sophomores Anthony Guerra (29:52.80) and Spencer Thurman (30:00.90) finished 64th and 74th. 

Rounding out the runners was redshirt junior Will Fallini-Haas, who ended in 100th place (30:34.50). 

The Women’s Team

The Big West champions’ 11th-place finish is their best at regionals since 2018. En route to this placement, the Mustangs beat out two Pac-12 schools, UCLA and Washington State, who were ranked ahead of them.

All-Big West honoree sophomore Julia Heckey ran an incredible race, finishing in 35th place with a 6K time of 20:00.60. Heckey’s finish was the best for a Cal Poly individual at regionals since 2018.

Graduate student Sydnie Rivas crossed the line next, placing 65th (20:28.60), and the Big West Women’s Freshman of the Year Tatiana Cornejo captured 72nd (20:35.20). Both runners recorded personal best times. 

Redshirt junior Misty Diaz, in her third West Regional meet, ran a personal best time of 20:42.00, grabbing 82nd place. Fellow ​​redshirt junior Amanda Olla also ran her personal best, crossing in 89th place (20:45.60).

Sophomores Carissa Buchholz (20:49.20) and Nina St. John (21:28.60) finished in 92nd and 145th, respectively. 

Ritter will be the only Mustang to compete in the NCAA National Championships, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, OK.