Cal Poly Cross Country continued to build upon its tradition of success on Saturday, Nov. 2 as Jake Ritter and Miranda Daschian repeated individual title wins at the Big West Conference Championships. In addition, the men’s team took home their fourth consecutive title win behind a 44-point finish on UC Riverside’s Ag-Ops Course.
The feat of winning four Big West Titles in a row has been achieved only two other times in the history of the conference. The men’s title-win was Cal Poly’s 24th Big West Team Championship and 52nd team title overall.
Cross Country head coach Mark Conover expressed pride in his runners following the impressive showing, and said the win was a “testimony of hard work and dedication.”
“All their hard work has been a true inspiration for me,” Conover said. “It brought tears to my eyes to watch them run so hard yesterday. It speaks volumes to honoring the Mustang Way, which is to honor those who came before them.”
Daschian won the 6k with a time of 20 minutes and 20 seconds in route to the Women’s team’s third-place finish.
Ritter’s 8k time of 23 minutes and 43 seconds outpaced the second-place runner, UC Santa Barbara junior Nick Randazzo, by a 42-second gap. Ritter’s time placed ninth in the history of the course.
With the first-place finishes, Cal Poly now has 17 individual Big West titles and 40 all time individual titles.
“Being able to balance academics and excel at their running at the same time means they’re headed towards great things in life, because they know how to achieve excellence,” Conover said.
While Ritter was a standout in the men’s race, other members of the team had to step up as well. The team ran with seven runners, whereas most colleges had nine, because of injured runners, according to Conover. The seven runners were composed of five redshirt freshman — four of which finished in the top 16 out of 58 competitors.
Conover said he was pleased knowing his team worked as a unit.
“This bodes well for not only the present, but for the future, obviously, since they’re so young,” Conover said.
Postseason continues for the Mustangs in the NCAA West Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 15 at Colfax Golf Club in Washington State.
With the team looking onto nationals, Ritter said he feels prepared for the competition ahead.
“I just keep telling myself, ‘It’s going to be difficult, but you are good enough … all the training you’ve done leading up to this has prepared you well for Regionals.’” Ritter said.