Over the weekend the USF women’s cross country team won their first ever WCC title while the men’s team earned a third place finish at the WCC championship race. Women’s head coach, Helen Lehman-Winters won her second WCC women’s coach of the year with the victory. The women’s team has enjoyed a very good season, finishing in the top three in four tournaments this year, including two first place finishes. The Dons were able to finish in first place because four individuals placed in the top 10 in the event. Sophomore Hillary Kigar was the first Don to cross the finish line and finished fourth overall in the event.
“A WCC championship puts the women’s team in higher ranking spots and in the history books,” said Ravi Amarawansa, a junior and member of the men’s cross-country team. “Being a young team (freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior), the squad has a great potential for the future”
The win is great for the cross-country program as it puts them at the top of the WCC for the first time in school history, and signifies that the program is on the rise and will be for the next few years.
Kigar, freshman Heather Zytkewicz, junior Nicole Bower and freshman Evra Krchova all earned WCC first time honors as each individual finished in the top 10. USF represented the majority of the All-WCC first team with the four members, Portland and Santa Clara each sent two members to the team. Overall the women’s performance was dominant and a great win for the program as well as USF athletics.
The men’s side also had a good performance during the WCC championships and they finished in third place on the day. Sophomore Ganbileg Bor, who finished first for the Dons and third overall in the event and was named to the All-WCC men’s first team, paced the team. Sophomore Devin Hopkins earned a All-WCC honorable mention with his 11th place finish.
“Being in the top three teams at conference has been a consistent outcome over the years. It seems to be our safe zone before the regional meet,” said Amarawansa. The consistently high finish puts the Dons is a good place at the NCAA regionals. Now that the regular season is over, all focus with shift to the NCAA regionals.
“Our goal at the NCAA regional meet is to beat LMU, and establish our standing as a regional top 10 school” said Amarawansa. “As for the women’s team, they will keep rising in ranks in the list of top regional teams.”
If Bor finishes in the top 25 in regionals, he should be a lock to compete in the NCAA nationals. Racing in the NCAA nationals is a big deal because it means that you are one of the best runners in the whole NCAA. Bor would be competing against the top individuals out of every school in the NCAA.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have put together outstanding seasons. Their success is great for USF and especially the cross-country program, as it puts USF higher in the national ranks. USF will look to continue their success in the NCAA regionals and to put label themselves as one of the best teams in the nation.