SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly cross country teams will be heading UC Riverside for the Big West Championships on Saturday.
The men's team, winners of 10 Big West crowns, will be led by senior Daniel Gonia who posted his fastest time of the season (23:48) at the Santa Clara Invitational on Oct. 15. Gonia has posted the third fastest time in conference this season on an 8k course.
Gonia was the 2008 Big West individual champion in leading the team to its ninth championship.
Joining Gonia in the pursuit of the school's 11 men's title will be junior transfer David Cardona. The junior earned Big West Athlete of the week when he led the men's team to a seventh place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24th. Cardona placed ninth overall and posted a time of 24:19. His best 8k time (23:53) this season came in his fourth place finish at the Santa Clara Invitational.
Also having a solid season is sophomore Chris Frias who earned conference freshmen of the year honors last year at the championship. Frias best time on an 8k course came at the Santa Clara Invitational with a time of 24:46.
Michael Johnson posts the 10th best time this season in the Big West at 24:32 at the Santa Clara Invitational.
The Mustangs opened the season with a win over UCSB, scoring 22 points at the Lagoon Open. The team followed that up with a seventh place finish at the Roy Griak Invite and 65 points. In the Mustangs last outing the team finished second with 77 points at the Santa Clara Invitational.
In the last national poll the Mustangs received votes and are ranked seventh in the West Region.
On the women's side, the Mustangs will be looking for their third conference championship.
The Mustangs are led by senior Leanne Fogg who has posted the third fasted time in a 5k race this season in the Big West. She posted a time of 17:18 in a fifth place finish at the Santa Clara Invitational and has posted the second fastest time in a 6k race. Fogg finished 10th at the Stanford Invite with a time of 20:57.
Fogg also received conference athlete of the week award for her finish at Stanford.
Meghan Breadmore has been pushing Fogg, posting times of 17:18 in the 5k and 21:10 in the 6k races. Breadmore finished sixth in the 6k race at Santa Clara.
This season the women's team defeated UCSB in a dual meet to open the year and came back the next week to win the UC Irvine Invitational with 38 points. Cal Poly finished a solid third at the Stanford Invitational with 139 points and finished the regular season with 133 points and a fifth place finish at the Santa Clara Invite.
The Mustangs are currently ranked 13th in the West Regional poll.
The Cal Poly women last won a Big West title in 2001. Last season the team placed second, just two points back of conference champion UC Santa Barbara.
In 2009 the women's team placed a competitive third.