OAKLAND, Calif. — Santa Clara cross country's veterans set the pace for the team at the West Coast Conference Championships on Friday morning at the Metropolitan Golf Links. Bevin McCullough led the women's side in the 6-kilometer race with a 22:29.6 for a 48th-place finish and Joey Berriatua topped the men's side in the 8-kilometer race with a 24:46.3 for a 28th-place finish.
Berriatua led the men to their best finish since 2014, when they also took fifth place.
MEN'S 8-KILOMETER RACE
The men — ranked 12th in the west region by USTFCCCA — captured fifth place as a team with 165 points and held off a late rally from a fellow regionally-ranked side in Loyola Marymount (13th in west, 166 points). Jack Davidson (29th place – 24:48.9), Zach Litoff (32nd – 24:58.0), Noah Westfall (39th – 25:15.5) and Ben Davidson (51st – 25:46.4) also scored for the Broncos.
Berriatua led the Broncos for the second straight race after setting the 8-kilometer program record at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational on Oct. 14. The redshirt senior and Jack Davidson have finished one-two for Santa Clara in all five events this season.
BYU secured the team title in convincing fashion, as Connor McMillan led the conference champions who had the top five finishers.
WOMEN'S 6-KILOMETER RACE
The women took ninth place as a team with 258 points and outraced Pepperdine on the day. Marisa Sanchez (60th place – 23:03.3), Ellie Kopf (61st – 23:05.7), Janie Nabholz (62nd – 23:06.5) and Jamie Ferris (63rd – 23:06.7) also scored for the Broncos.
McCullough became the fifth different Bronco to lead the team at a major meet this season. Sanchez, Kopf and Nabholz, along with Emma Eikelberner, have all finished in first among their teammates this fall.
Charlotte Taylor led team champion San Francisco, winning the race by nearly 20 seconds. The Dons scored at 1-2-3-5-9.
The Broncos bid for a national championship berth at the NCAA West Region Meet on Friday, Nov. 10 at Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle.
• The men's fifth-place finish ties the team's best performance at the WCC meet in that last six years.
"Joey and Jack went for an all-conference finish and ended up going out very fast. They could have raced for 20th, but in going for it, they struggled over the final mile."
"Zach and Noah ran outstanding races. They are the biggest reasons we held off a very good LMU team by a point. Cross country coaches always talk about how every place and every point counts. Today, that proved to be the case."
"For the women, we were disappointed to be beaten by Saint Mary's and Pacific, but overall I was pleased with our efforts and approach to competition We really went for it early and faded a bit over the final few kilometers. We can now shift our focus to regionals and continuing the process of improvement."
- Head Coach Felipe Montoro
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