BERKELEY – The California men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Louisville, Colo. this Saturday to compete in the Pac-12 Championships held this year at Coal Creek Golf Course and hosted by the University of Colorado.
Action gets underway with the men’s 8,000-meter race at 9:40 a.m. (PT), followed by the women’s 6,000-meter race at 10:40 a.m. (PT). The course consists of rolling fairways, no elevation gain and several sharp turns.
The conference championship meet will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks and will air on the channel on Monday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 (PT).
The women’s race should be one of the most competitive in the 27-year history of the race. Half the field enters the meet ranked in the USTFCCCA national poll. Competitors from each of the schools have a strong shot at capturing the Pac-12 individual crown. Arizona enters the race ranked No. 1 in the nation, along with ranked foes Oregon (No. 12), Washington (No. 13), Colorado (No. 16) and Stanford (20th).
Junior Kelsey Santisteban, coming off an individual title – her third of the season – at the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Oct. 19, leads the bears into the Pac-12 meet as she eyes her first conference title. Santisteban’s best time in the 6,000-meter race this season came in Sacramento, Calif. with a time of 16:23. The Golden Bear placed ninth individually in last season’s Pac-12 Championships held in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Cal’s lineup includes juniors Heather Cerney and Sydney Gray, sophomores Mariel Mendoza, Xochitl Navarrete and Ashlyn Dadkhah, and freshmen Molly Babcock and Marissa Scott.
The women placed eighth in last season’s conference championship meet. Navarrette (42nd), Mendoza (48th) and Dadkhah (57th) each competed in last year’s meet.
The men’s race also features a strong field with four teams ranked in the USTFCCCA national rankings this week. Colorado, the two-time defending champions, is the top-ranked team in the nation, followed by No. 4 Oregon, No. 13 Stanford and No. 25 Washington.
Senior J.P. Slater headlines the Bears’ lineup after pacing Cal in each of the four events he has competed in this fall. His best time of the year came in the Sacramento State Jamboree with a time of 23:53 in the 8,000-meter race. Junior Jordan Locklear, sophomores Thomas Joyce and Leland Later, and redshirt freshmen Ned Trim and Kristian Martinez will compete for the Bears Saturday morning. Locklear (top time of 24:31 in Sacramento), Joyce (top time of 24:37 in Terre Haute, Ind.), Later (top time of 23:55 in Sacramento) and Trim (top time of 25:01 in Sacramento) have competed in four events this fall. Martinez (top time of 25:06 in Santa Clara) has competed in three events.
The Cal men placed ninth as a team in last season’s Pac-12 Championships held in Santa Clarita, Calif. Later (51st) and Locklear (55th) were the lone Golden Bears competing this season to have participated in last year’s race.Cal will next compete in the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 15. A group of Bears will race at the Doc Adams Invitational in Davis, Calif. next Saturday, Nov. 9.