The women’s cross country team has done it again, gliding into first place and managing to set both course and program records. At the West Coast Conference Championships, the ladies of USF established that gold is definitely their color — and not just in regard to their uniform.
Oakland’s Metropolitan Golf Links played host for the WCC Championships on Oct. 27. This all-encompassing and competitive event has the potential to cause disappointment for even the best teams. But lucky for us, there was no shortage of celebration on Friday where the Dons were concerned.
The starting pistol went off for the men’s race at 10 a.m., and the Dons put up an admirable fight. Senior Mohammed Aziz came in 8th place and earned himself a place on the All-WCC First Team. His accomplishment helped propel the men’s team to an overall score of 75 points, landing them neatly in 3rd place. This happens to be the second consecutive year that the men have earned bronze, showing us that their consistency goes far beyond keeping an even pace over long distances.
At 11 a.m., the women were off, and it was clear from the start that they were ready to take names.
Charlotte Taylor — who has made a name for herself here at USF through her cross country prowess — managed to not only come in 1st place, but also set a course record. Her time of 19:10.5 blew the other runners out of the water, and has gone down as the best time of any runner in this WCC women’s race. And, as usual, Taylor’s teammate, Weronika Pyzik was not far behind with a time of 19:30.2, coming in 2nd place overall.
Despite all of the fanfare surrounding the one-two punch that is Taylor and Pyzik, the other members of the women’s cross country team proved that they would not be outshone either. Isabelle Brauer flew through the course, sliding smoothly into 3rd place exactly 10 seconds behind Pyzik.
As if conquering the Top 3 was not enough for the Dons, the hits just kept coming. Marie Bouchard (20:01.1) came in 5th, Lizzie Bird (20:12.8) swept into 9th place and Tatjana Schulte (20:22.4) rounding out 10th place.
Losing track of the names somewhere in there? That makes a grand total of 6 runners in the Top 10, which also marks a program best for USF Cross Country for the highest number of Dons represented in the top competitors. It has been said before — and it will most definitely be said again — but it cannot be overstated: Taylor and Pyzik are something special indeed.
For the Dons, the unbelievable success found at the WCC Championships can be chalked up as just another record-setting grandstand, along with the Roy Griak Invitational and the Nuttycombe Invitational — both of which also served as platforms for USF to showcase their excess of talent.
Both the women’s and the men’s teams have trained incredibly hard to get to where they are, and their blood, sweat and tears have paid off in spades. The end of the season is in sight, and with the NCAA West Regionals just around the corner on Nov. 10, the Dons have put themselves in a prime position to keep the successes rolling in until the curtain falls and they lace up their shoes for the final time.