The UC Riverside men’s cross country team finished in third place at the Highlander Invitational, hosted at the UCR’s Ag/Ops course this past weekend. Seth Totten again led the way for the Highlanders as he finished first in the 6k race with an excellent time of 17:41.0. The first place team spot was claimed by UC Irvine who scored 30 points, edging out second place Wyoming by 11 points. The Highlanders scored 63 points and placed third out of three teams.

Totten set a new personal best and a new course record with his time of 17:41.0. Totten held off UC Irvine’s Steven Melena by four seconds, as Melena finished with a time of 17:45.8. Michael Gauger was the second Highlander to finish with a time of 18:25.5, as he placed 14th overall. Cesar Solis placed 21st for the Highlanders with a time 18:46.9. Nic Beechan finished 23rd with a time of 18:55.2, followed by Sebastian Puraci, who placed 25th with a time of 19:07.1. Rounding out the squad was Benjamin Heck whose time of 19:17.3 was good for 28th place.

“We are young – training well and competing to the best of their ability.  Seth Totten is having a stellar season and will be a contender at the Big West Championships for the individual title.  Losing Chad [Hall] and Talal [Khan] to graduation was a blow but whenever a void is left – it leaves an open spot for someone to step into,” said Coach Nate Browne on the progress of the men’s team this season.

On having home course advantage, Coach Browne said, “There’s always the advantage of familiarity.  We train there, so everyone can feel comfortable on race day.”

The Highlanders will next compete at the Big West Conference Championship on Saturday October 27, where they finished fourth last year. The men’s team will look to match that result as they will compete on the Ag/Ops course and try to use the home course to their advantage.