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The Cal Poly men’s cross country team won its third consecutive title while the UC Irvine women’s team captured its first crown since 1999 as the 2005 Big West Cross Country Championships were staged at the UC Riverside Agricultural Operations course Saturday.

The Mustangs continued their dominance at the conference meet, earning their sixth title in the last eight years. Cal Poly tallied 24 points as five runners finished in the top 10, led by senior Andy Coughlin’s second place showing. Coughlin ran the 8K course in a time of 24:02.3 and led a pack of three of his teammates who finished within one second and a half of his pace. Junior Matt Johnsrud was third in 24:02.8, senior Brandon Collins fourth in 24:03.1 and junior Brian Baker sixth in 24:03.8. Freshman Alex Dunn rounded out the group of Cal Poly scorers in ninth place at 24:17.7.

The other non-scoring members of the team included Luke Llamas in 10th (24:22) and Troy Swier in 11th (24:24).

Other Mustangs competing included Jameson Mora in 15th (24:41) and Nathan Brassmassery in 19th (24:48).

The individual champion was UC Santa Barbara junior Chris Ashley, who ran the course in 23:51.7, more than 17 seconds faster than last year’s first place finisher. Ashley’s time also is tops among all Big West runners at any meet this season.

Rounding out the list of top 10 finishers was Long Beach State senior Jim Grabow, who came in eighth place at 24:08.2. The 49ers posted their best finish in 17 years, coming in third place with 89 points.

After three consecutive eighth place finishes and a sixth place showing in 2001, the UC Riverside men’s team also stepped up with its best-ever fourth place performance. The Highlanders tallied 129 points as all five scorers finished anywhere from 21st to 30th.

UC Irvine (140 points), Cal State Fullerton (181) and Cal State Northridge (182) rounded out the final scoring.

On the women’s side, UC Irvine ended UCSB’s two-year reign as conference champ with a great performance from its mixture of veterans and youth. The Anteaters scored 29 points to outdistance the Gauchos, who finished with 66 points for second place. UCI senior Amber Steen won the individual championship as she traveled the 6K course in 20:55.5.

The Cal Poly women’s team finished sixth behind the strong finish of Rachel Valliere in 14th place (21:52).

Valliere was followed by Lauren Magdaleno in 22nd (22:13) and Kelsey Delagardelle in 31st. Rounding out the other Cal Poly scoring members included Stephanie Hamilton in 33rd (22:50) and Julie Hancock in 35th (22:53).

Big West teams now focus their attention to NCAA Regional at Stanford in two weeks.

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