Note: Race times have been moved back 30 minutes from the original start times of 9/10 a.m. PT due to frost. Races begin at 9:30 a.m./10:30 a.m.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara cross country lines up for the start of championship season on Saturday morning. The Broncos travel to Provo, Utah for the West Coast Conference Championships at East Bay Golf Course. The women's 6-kilometer race is set for 9:30 a.m. PT and the men's 8-kilometer race starts at 10:30 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
Both teams return to the Beehive State after competing in Provo at the BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 15. The event was originally scheduled to be run at East Bay Golf Course and was moved to the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course due to poor air quality stemming from a pair of mountain fires.
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WOMEN'S 6K – 9:30 A.M. PT
Emma McCurry has finished first among teammates in three of the squad's four major events this season, including last time out at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. Noelani Obermeyer topped the Broncos at the Montana Invitational. Carolina Avelar led the SCU women in the Bronco Invite open race.
The women's team turned in strong performances in a pair of showings at altitude this year. Santa Clara took third place in both the BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 15 and at the Montana Invitational on Sept. 28.
Saturday's field features a pair of nationally-ranked sides in No. 9 BYU (third in USTFCCCA Mountain region) and No. 19 Portland (fifth – West). San Francisco is ranked 10th in the West Region.
Associate Head Coach Pete Cushman: "We have been making dramatic improvements all fall, and I'm excited to see us continue that momentum at WCCs. There's a bit of a bottleneck between fifth and 10th, and we are racing to be at the front end of that. We need a small spread from our top five runners to have a good day."
MEN'S 8K – 10:30 A.M. PT
Zach Litoff has led the Broncos in three of four major meets (USF Invitational, Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, Santa Clara Bronco Invitational). Jack Davidson was the top Bronco finisher when the team got a taste of altitude at the BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 15.
BYU ranks No. 2 (second – Mountain) in the country, behind only Northern Arizona. Portland checks in at No. 5 and tops West Region rankings. Gonzaga rounds out the trio of nationally-ranked sides at No. 26 in the country and No. 7 in the West Region. The field of nine features a total of seven regionally-ranked teams, including four more from the West in Santa Clara (11th), San Francisco (12th), Pepperdine (14th) and Loyola Marymount (15th).
Head Coach Felipe Montoro: "The guys are really looking forward to Saturday; the competition is as good as it gets. Our team's focus is on preparing to give our best physical and mental effort possible on the day, and doing that within the context of running together whenever possible. We have grown a lot as a team in the last month or so and can't wait to get out and run."
LAST MEET – SANTA CLARA BRONCO INVITATIONAL
The men's team cross country turned in one of its best Bronco Invitational performances in several years. Litoff took fourth place overall with an 8-kilometer personal best 23:58.6 and led the men to a second-place finish as a team in the invitational race at Baylands Park.
Litoff's effort marks the highest individual finish by a Bronco since Robbie Reid won the invitational race in 2009. Santa Clara also had its best finish as a team since 2005.
McCurry placed 58th with a 6-kilometer personal best 21:36.9 to lead the women in the invitational race. The team outraced WCC opponents in Saint Mary's, Gonzaga and Pepperdine.
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