CLAREMONT- UC Santa Cruz's men qualified for their first-ever NCAA Cross Country Championship as a team with a school-record second place finish at the West Regionals.
It was the team's fifth consecutive top-ten finish, but the performance Saturday blew away almost the rest of the West.
The Slugs scored a 90 to finish behind Pomona-Pitzer's 35. The Sagehens had six runners in the top twenty, including champion Andy Reischling who finished in 25:04. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was third, finishing with 103 points.
"We talked all season that we wanted to be healthy and ready to compete at Regionals. We knew there were only two auto-qualifiers and really wanted to put ourselves in a position to be competitive," said head coach David Klech.
Draven Hawk saved his best for last, with a PR of 25:29.4 to place fifth against a loaded field.
"It was a really tough course and I knew I needed to hang tough. Coach told me I had to stay with the front group and we stuck it out," said the junior.
Two other Banana Slug runners were in the top twenty. Freshman Nick Klieber was 12th in 25:40 and Paul Colosi was 14th in 25:50.3.
A year after qualifying for the NCAAs as an individual, Colosi returns and will bring his teammates with him.
Women finish 19th
The UC Santa Cruz women finished in 19th after a rough start placed the young team in the middle of the pack of 138 runners.
Carrie Bradley led the Slug harriers as the freshman ran 24:40.9 to place 74th. Sydney Gutierrez finished in 25:11.79 to place 92nd. Bella Demachkie was 94th in 25:18.54. Abby Klein was 102nd in 25:34.02, while Emmaline Fronczak ran a time 25:50.51 for 110th place. Allie Lourim ran 26:08.18 and Autumn Burton ran 26:08.93 to finish in 116 and 117 respectively.