On a sunny Saturday morning Oct. 27, UC Riverside’s cross country teams looked to keep the pace with schools like Cal Poly and UC Davis at the Big West Cross Country Championship. Before the Championship run, UC Riverside’s very own Coach Nate Browne responded to questions concerning how he felt about UC Riverside’s women this week. “The women have put together some strong performances. We feel like we’re flying a bit under the radar and we like it that way,” said Coach Browne.

Indeed the women’s cross country team put together some strong performances this weekend, coming in fourth place overall with 81 points. Led once again by Damajerma Dubose, who finished fourth with a time of 20:16.0, Raquel Hefflin and Jzsanette Lindstrom finished ninth and 15th with times of 20:34.3 and 21:01.5. With two top 10 finishers, UC Riverside’s women showed another strong performance, and led a balanced attack as Katy Daly and Alisha Brown also finished in the top 30, with Briana Simons finishing just outside the top 30.

With both Daly and Brown finishing at 21:23.09, and Simmons finishing at 21.36.0, the Highlander cross country team dished out strong performances to keep pace with UC Davis, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara at the Agricultural course. The team lived up to Coach Browne’s expectations, when he responded to another question regarding his expectations for the women earlier this week, Browne said, “The only real expectation is compete hard and race all the way through the finish.  We can only control what our teams do. If our women have their best day as a unit they’ll be tough to beat.”

Following the completion of the women’s race, UC Riverside’s Highlander men came out and also ran a strong race, dealing with injuries to their top runners. With upper echelon competition such as first place Cal Poly, second place UC Santa Barbara, third place UC Irvine, fourth place UC Davis, and fifth place Long Beach State, the Highlander men came in sixth, with 155 points.

Coach Browne responded to questions about his men’s cross country team. “The men have had some strong individual performances but we have struggled a bit as a team since the UCR Invitational.  We dealt with a couple of inopportune injuries and since we are a bit thin it gets exposed when someone is out,” said Browne.

Even with injuries, the men’s team came out with once again a balanced attack led by explosive junior, Seth Totten, who placed 14th with a time of 24:48.4, followed by top 30 finishes by freshmen Cesar Solis and Michael Gauger, who ran a 25:23.5 and 25:45.3 respectively.

These finishes couldn’t top a gauntlet of top runners by Cal Poly, who finished with first, second and third place runners, but it represented a strong unit and strength in the face of injury.

When asked about home field advantage for both his teams, Coach Browne responded, “I think they love [it]—there is familiarity and they sleep in their own beds the night before a championship race.  They don’t have to break their routine and they get to perform in front of their family and friends.”

The UC Riverside women’s and men’s cross country team must prepare for the NCAA West Regional Championship on Nov. 10 in Seattle, WA.