Led by Chris Frias and Laura Hollander, the Cal Poly cross country teams swept the Big West Conference cross country championships Saturday in Riverside for the first time since 2000.
For the Mustangs men, it was business as usual at the Big West meet. The Mustangs placed all five of their scorers in the top 10 to score 25 points to easily outdistance runner-up UC Santa Barbara, which scored 48 points.
It was Cal Poly’s second consecutive team title and the 10th in the past 11 seasons. Since 1998, Cal Poly has won all but three Big West team titles.
“It was great to see how that race developed,” Mustangs head coach Mark Conover said. “We always try to stress good group running. Today was no exception to that.”
Frias was the individual winner on the 8K course and led a 1-2-3 Cal Poly sweep. Frias was timed in 24 minutes, 10 seconds and was followed by Blake Ahrold in second (24:13) and Mitchell Moriarty (24:14).
The Cal Poly women won its first team title since 2001, led by another dominating performance by freshman Laura Hollander, who became the first Mustangs woman to win the Big West individual title.
Hollander remained undefeated in her first collegiate season by leading wire-to-wire in winning the 6K individual race in 19 minutes, 12.6 seconds. Hollander is just the second Big West runner to break 20 minutes since women begin running 6K races at the conference meet in 2003. She broke the meet record of 19:57.0 set by UC Santa Barbara’s Amanda Moreno in 2010.
UC Davis’ Sarah Sumpter was a distant second in the individual race in 19:44.4.
“It’s the race we’ve been waiting for from the women,” Conover said. “We haven’t had five women put it together on the same day, but we knew it was coming.”
Also finishing in the top 10 for the Mustangs were Savannah Pio, who was seventh (20:27.9), and Vanessa Hancock, who was eighth (20:33.5). Those three top-10 finishes helped the Mustangs to a 43-46 win over defending champion UC Davis. UC Santa Barbara was a distant third with 75 points.
“This is something to build on and strive for something better later on,” Conover said. “I see nothing but great things ahead for the program. It’s just a great team all the way around.”
Cal Poly won its first women’s team title since back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. The Mustangs finished tied for fourth in 2008, third in 2009, second in 2010 and fourth in 2011.
San Luis Obispo High graduate Christine Hoffmann, in her freshman season at UC Davis, was 17th for the Aggies in 21:04.9.