The honors keep poring in for Cal Poly freshman cross country runner Laura Hollander.
On Wednesday, Hollander was named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week, the Big West Conference Women’s Athlete of the Year and the Women’s Freshman of the Year.
Hollander has won all four of her cross country races this season, including the Big West Conference championship last Saturday in Riverside. In that race, Hollander set a meet record of 19 minutes, 12.6 seconds over the 6K course in becoming only the second runner to break the 20-minute barrier at the Big West meet since women began running the 6K distance in 2003.
Hollander led Cal Poly to its first women’s Big West team title since 2001 and led the individual wire-to-wire.
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“It was nice to get the individual win and also to have the team win meant a great deal to me,” Hollander said in a Cal Poly news release. “It was a fun day to be a Mustang. I feel even more proud to win it because it was the first ever individual win for a Cal Poly (women’s) athlete.
“This whole season for me, I’ve simply tried to enjoy each race and run to the best of my ability each time. I love running and racing, so it’s been really fun.”
Hollander is the second athlete with Cal Poly ties to be named a USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week in 2012. Arroyo Grande High and Cal Poly graduate Stephanie Brown Trafton won the honor May 9 after setting an American record of 222 feet, 3 inches in the women’s discus in a meet in Hawaii.
Cal Poly dominated the Big West cross country awards, winning five of the six awards handed out. Mark Conover was named the conference’s Men’s Coach of the Year and the Women’s Coach of the Year. Chris Frias, who won the individual 8K title at the Big West meet and led a 1-2-3 Mustangs finish as Cal Poly captured yet another team title, was named the Men’s Athlete of the Year. UC Santa Barbara’s Bryan Guijarro was the Men’s Freshman of the Year.
Cal Poly 1, UC Davis 0
Mackenzie Pridham continued his stellar season for the Mustangs, scoring the game’s only goal in the 51st minute to keep Cal Poly’s postseason hopes alive.
The Mustangs (10-6-1, 5-3-1 Big West Conference) improved to 16 points in conference play to move into a second place tie with Sacramento State (8-6-2, 5-2-1) in the Big West’s Northern Division. UC Davis (8-6-4-, 6-3) remained at 18 points.
If Cal Poly beats UC Santa Barbara (10-5-3, 4-4-1) at home in a 7 p.m. match Saturday, the Mustangs will earn one of the Northern Division’s two berths in the Big West Tournament on Nov. 7, regardless of what happens in Saturday’s UC Davis-Sacramento State match. If Cal Poly ties UC Santa Barbara, the Mustangs would need a UC Davis win to earn a berth in the conference tournament. If Cal Poly loses to UC Santa Barbara, a team the Mustangs beat 2-1 in overtime earlier this year, it is out of the conference tournament.
Pridham’s goal was his 11th of the season, the most in a Cal Poly single season wince Clay Harty had a school-record 16 in 1995. Pridham’s 23 points are also the fourth-most in school history.
Chase Hauser and Wade Hamilton each played a half in goal for the Mustangs and combined for five saves in registering the shutout.
Big West Conference teams
Cal Poly’s Cici Kobinski and Elise Krieghoff have won two of the conference’s top six all-conference honors.
Kobinski, a senior midfielder, has been named the conference’s Midfielder of the Year and was voted to the all-conference first team for the second straight season. Krieghoff, a freshman forward, joins Kobinski on the first team and has been named the conference’s Freshman of the Year.
They are the only two Cal Poly players on the first team. The Mustangs are the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament and will open the tournament today against No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge at UC Irvine. The winner of today’s game plays either UC Irvine or Cal State Fullerton in Saturday’s championship match with an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Senior defender Shandon Rovetta and freshman forward Sara Epps represent Cal Poly on the second team. Epps also joined Krieghoff on the all-freshman team.
Long Beach State’s Nadia Link is the Offensive Player of the Year, Cal State Northridge’s Cynthia Jacobo is the Goalkeeper of the Year, Cal State Northridge’s Chloe McDaniel is the Defensive Player of the Year, and Cal State Fullerton’s Demian Brown is the Coach of the Year.