Cross country dominated the Big West championship meet. Credit: Raymond Tran | Cal Poly Athletics, Courtesy 2022

It was a championship sweep for Mustangs in cross country, as the men’s and women’s teams won the Big West conference on Saturday, Oct. 29 at UC Riverside. 

This was the sixth time in program history that the men’s and women’s teams have swept to capture their titles and the first time since 2018. 

The Men’s Team

Graduate student Jake Ritter led the way for the men’s side, winning his third straight individual title, a Big West record. 

The men took all three top spots in the 8K race as Ritter claimed first (23:27.4), redshirt junior Will Fallini-Haas placed second (23:41.9) and sophomore Aidan McCarthy finished third (23:46.4). 

The Mustangs scored a dominating 22 points at the meet — the most by a winning side since 2016 when Cal Poly set the record with 16. 

The two other Mustangs who finished within the top 10 and claimed All-Big West honors were redshirt sophomore Anthony Guerra (23:53.3), who placed sixth, and redshirt junior John Bennett, who took home 10th (24:02.9).

The Women’s Team

The women had a much closer fight for their title, barely edging out UC Irvine by one point at 64-63, the closest finish in conference history. 

Sophomore Julia Heckey led the way for the Mustangs, finishing the 6K course in 19:50.20 to earn third place. 

​​Four other runners finished inside the top 20 individually to help secure Cal Poly’s victory. Graduate student Sydnie Rivas grabbed 12th (20:34.5), freshman Tatiana Cornejo placed 14th (20:41.3), redshirt junior Misty Diaz finished in 15th (20:44.7) and sophomore Carissa Buchholz came in 19th (20:52.8).

With the win, first-year head coach Michelle Chewens raised the women’s eighth Big West title in program history and their first win since 2018. 

Cal Poly will travel to University Place, Wash. on Friday, Nov. 11 to compete in the NCAA West Regional.