SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's and women's cross country teams are off to the NCAA West Regional on Friday in Seattle, Washington. The men's 10k course and the women's 6k will be held at the Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle. The women's race will start at 12 noon followed by the men's race at 1:15 pm.
Both teams are fresh off dominating wins at the Big West Championship and are both ranked eighth in regional polls.
The Mustangs domination at the 2012 Big West Conference Cross Country Championship last week, taking both the men's and women's titles, carried through to the cross country annual awards with the Mustangs claiming five of the six awards handed out by the Big West Conference, including men's athlete of the year Chris Frias, women's athlete of the year and women's freshman of the year Laura Hollander and men's and women's coach of the year Mark Conover.
A record-breaking performance at the conference championship put an exclamation point on Hollander's first season competing at the collegiate level and earned her both Big West Women's Athlete of the Year and Big West Women's Freshman of the Year honors. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native ran a top time of 19:12.6, shattering both the course and conference records by 45 seconds, to garner the women's individual crown. She also became just the second female athlete to post a sub 20-minute time in the 6K since the championship moved to the new distance in 2003.
Hollander has been stellar all season as she paced the Mustangs at every meet she competed in, set three course records, claimed four individual titles and nabbed three Big West Women's Athlete of the Week honors. She becomes the first Cal Poly woman to earn Big West Women's Athlete of the Year honors and the fifth Mustang in seven years to grab the Big West Women's Freshman of the Year award. She also was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week for her efforts at the Big West Championship.
Other Mustangs to keep an eye on at the west regional will be sophomore Savannah Pio with her seventh place finish at the BWC championships with a time of 20:17. Sophomore Meghan Breadmore placed 11th at the Big West Championships and was a NCAA qualifier last season as a freshman.
Frias guided the Mustangs men's team to its second straight conference title and 12th in the past 15 seasons after claiming the individual title with a time 24:10.0. Over the course of the season, Frias captured two Big West Men's Athlete of the Week honors, following quality finishes at the UC Santa Barbara Lagoon Open and Pac-12 Preview. The junior from Ventura, Calif., earned Cal Poly's first Big West Men's Athlete of the Year honor since collecting four straight from 2006-09.
Junior Blake Ahrold placed second in the Big West with a time of 24:13 and will be a force to reckon with after his BWC finish and a time of 25:01 at the Wisconsin Invitational. Sophomore Mitch Moriarty helped with the conference win with his third-place finish and a season-best time of 24:14.
Also competing for the Mustangs at the West Regional will be Sean Davidson after a ninth-place finish at the BWC (24:31) and a season-best time at Wisconsin of 24:20.
Senior David Cardona finished 10th at the Big West finals with a time of 25:35, but posted a season-best time at Wisconsin of 24:07.