Colosi qualifies for NCAA Championships; Slugs finish third and sixth at NCAA West Regionals

Colosi made All-Region for third time in his UCSC career
(Photo courtesy of Whitman College)
Colosi made All-Region for third time in his UCSC career (Photo courtesy of Whitman College)

WALLA WALLA - Paul Colosi made school history in becoming the school's first-ever three-time NCAA Cross Country qualifier.

On the strength of his showing at Saturday's West Regional 8K, the junior will now run again at next week's National Championships hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Osh Kosh. 
He made the field as an Individual his freshman year and went with the entire men's team last season.

The Banana Slug men placed 3rd at the West Regional hosted by Whitman with 76 points, 22 behind co-winners Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. It was a school-record for team time and the second best regional finish for UCSC ever after last year's second-place finish.

"Paul was consistent the entire season, and knows when to race his best when it counts.  I'm thrilled that he's making a return trip to the NCAA Championships.  I'm absolutely gutted, however, for the rest of our Men's team.  We ran an unbelievable effort getting 5 All-Region honorees."

Three Banana Slugs were in the top twenty, led by Colosi finishing 8th in 25:18.9, 34 seconds better than his time at Regionals last year. Draven Hawk was 14th in 25:24.4, bettering his PR by 5 seconds, and school-record holder Nick Kleiber was 16th in 25:26.7.

Colosi, Hawk and Kleiber repeated All-Region Honors.  Dante Capone (23rd) and Kellen O'Neill (27th) also earned All Region nods.  Colosi also became the first-ever three-time All Region honoree in the history of the Men's program. 

Andy Reischling of Pomona-Pitzer repeated as Regional Champion, winning in a time of 24:49.2.

"We set a school-record for lowest team score at the Regional Championships and had stellar performances across the board. I knew we were going to be on the cusp of getting an at-large bid, but the West Region just didn't perform consistently enough this season to earn an at-large bid," Klech explained. 

The Women's team placed sixth in the Regional 6K held in chilly conditions, a 13-place improvement from last year. It was UCSC's fourth top-seven finish at regionals in the past 5 years. Shannon McClish placed 22nd in 23:01.3. Sydney Gutierrez was 35th in 23:16.2, earning her All-Region honors along with McClish.
"Anytime you can go to the Regional Championships and have a top level performance you have to be excited," said Klech. "The women were phenomenal to improve as drastically as they did from last season.  Sydney finally getting All-Region in her third attempt was huge.  Shannon was effected by the cold and snow during her race, but raced with a ton of grit to lead the women."
Anya Cooper-Hynell (46th, 23:42), Raissa Boysen (47th, 23:44.5), Elana Muzzy (49th, 23:46.8) and Natalie Marquardt (51st, 23:48.9) also placed for UCSC. 

Sydney Gutierrez (268) sets the pace in her pack, followed by fellow Banana Slugs Cooper-Hynell (270), Muzzy (274) and Boysen (265)
 
Pomona's Helen Guo won the Individual title in 21:48.5 and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps repeated as Regional team champion.