The Cal Poly men’s cross country team will not compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. after failing to receive an at-large bid earlier this week.
The Mustangs had competed in three straight NCAA Championships as a team but had the streak broken following a fifth-place tie at the West Regional last weekend.
“(The team) is holding its head high,” Cal Poly head coach Mark Conover said. “They ran a great race at the regionals and did all they could do — which is to take care of their own effort.”
The Mustangs and Arizona State finished in a fifth-place tie, but the Sun Devils were selected over Cal Poly because of the NCAA tiebreaker rules.
“The rules are what they are,” Conover said. “We’re always doing the best we can to be ready at the end of the season when it matters most — at the conference and regional meet.”
The top two teams in each of the nine regionals earned automatic bids to the NCAA meet. After the regional meets concluded, 13 at-large teams were selected to fill out the 31-team field.
Cal Poly senior runner Joe Gatel advanced as an individual, finishing 15th overall at the regional meet. Gatel’s qualifying marks the 11th consecutive year that the program has been represented by an individual or the team at the national championships.
“Joe’s had an outstanding year,” Conover said. “He made a big breakthrough after being the Big West Conference champion and finishing in the top 15 in the toughest region in the country. It’s a testament to his development over the last five years.”
Despite being within just seconds of besting Arizona State and more than likely taking their place at the national championships, Conover said he is proud of what the team accomplished this year.
“I think it was a special season and this was a special team,” Conover said. “From the outset we lost our returning number one runner. The whole team had to step up including the four seniors on the team. They stepped up and rose even more. Each individual became a more seasoned and callous person as a result. They learned how to step up and achieve excellence.”
All-Big West honors
Five members of the Cal Poly men’s soccer team earned All-Big West Conference second team honors as announced by the conference on Tuesday.
Junior forward David Zamora was named to his third-straight all-Big West team. Also named to the second team were junior defender Josh Didion, sophomore midfielder Jacob Hustedt, junior goalkeeper Patrick McLain and sophomore center back Patrick Sigler.
Zamora led the Mustangs in goals (seven), points (17), shots (40) and shots on goal (17) this season. He became the third Mustang to earn three all-conference selections.
McLain led all Big West goalkeepers with a .830 save percentage and finished second with 73 saves and five shutouts.
Sigler, who played a team-high 1,872 minutes and started all 20 matches, scored two goals for the Mustangs, including one against No. 22 UC Irvine.
The Mustangs (8-10-2, 6-3-1) were eliminated from the Big West Tournament in the semifinals with a 2-1 loss at home to the Anteaters.
LETTER OF INTENT SIGNINGS
Cal Poly announced the signings of 12 athletes to National Letters of Intent, including nine baseball players.
The baseball team, which is coming off its first-ever Division I postseason berth, will add five pitchers, two infielders, an outfielder and a catcher to a team that finished with a 37-21 record last season.
Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said the signings were in preparation of the players he expects to lose to the professional ranks after the season.
“We made an effort to bring in as many quality arms on the mound as possible,” Lee said in a release. “We will take a big hit in the draft next spring and need to shore up that area.”
One of the pitchers included may look familiar to Cal Poly fans. Nathan Gonzalez allowed just two runs on five hits in 71⁄3 innings against the Mustangs last year as a freshman for Saint Mary’s.
Gonzalez will play his sophomore season at Merced College before coming to Cal Poly as a junior.
Also signing with Cal Poly are infielder/outfielder Jimmy Allen of Rancho Buena Vista High in Vista; righthanded reliever David Armendariz of Notre Dame High in Granada Hills; first baseman Jordan Brower of Newbury Park High in Newbury Park; lefthander Taylor Chris of Gilroy High in Gilroy; catcher Chris Hoo of St. Francis High in Cupertino; righthander Chase Johnson of Fallbrook High in Fallbrook; righthander Don Medlinger of San Jose Community College; and outfielder Tim Wise of Westlake High in Camarillo.
Cal Poly has signed outside hitter Kristina Graven from Mitty High in San Jose.
At 6-foot, Graven averages 4.11 kills per set and is hitting .423 as a senior for Mitty (33-0), which is currently ranked as the No. 1 program nationally by ESPNrise.com.
Graven is the 28th-ranked senior player according to prepvolleyball.com, making her the highest-rated athlete to sign during Jon Stevenson’s five-year tenure as head coach.
As expected, Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero officially announced the signings of point guard Jamal Johnson and shooting guard Maliik Love.
Johnson, the No. 62 point guard recruit in the nation according to ESPN.com, averaged 10 points, 5.2 assists and four rebounds as a junior at Madison High in San Antonio.
Love, a 6-foot-4 combo guard averaged 20.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for The Bishop’s School in La Jolla.Their commitments were earlier reported in The Tribune.
Cuesta 3, Allan Hancock 0
The Cougars got a match-high 14 kills from Mackenzie Sullivan in a 25-22, 25-18, 25-16 season ending win Tuesday.
Cuesta (8-13, 5-5 Western State Conference) middle blocker Kayla Cribbs added 12 kills for the Cougars, who will finish in either a tie for third or fourth place in the conference depending on later results.