Pacific Regional: Men's and Women's Preview
October 31st, 2019
Will the Cal Poly men find a way to finish first a team? Is there a team with enough firepower to prevent UC-Davis women from repeating?
Pacific Regional Preview - Men (San Carlos, CA)
There has not been an abundance of results from the Pacific Region so far this season, but there is definitely no shortage of talent. The Pacific region was responsible for two of the top three teams at NIRCA Nationals last year, Cal Poly and UC-Davis.
Cal Poly Distance Club (CPDC) finished second at both Regionals and Nationals in 2018. Returning from their top seven from last year’s edition of this meet are: Thomas Busse (fifth), Matthew Busse (17th), Lincoln Colby (18th), and Mikolaj Krajewski (19th). This year, CPDC appears to have had a full squad race at one meet so far in non-NIRCA competition, the Santa Clara Bronco Invite. There, the team edged out the UC-Davis club team with 101 points to UC-Davis’s 105 points. They were led by Krajewski (25:26), Jonas Enders (25:53), Jeremy Dvorak (26:18), Colby (26:19), and Matthew Busse (26:25). They showcased some incredible depth with another eight runners under 27 minutes in addition to their top five. While this depth gave them the edge over UC-Davis in the large field at the Bronco Invite, they will need their top runners to be competitive with those from UC-Davis to take the win in what will be a smaller field this weekend. Their top returner from last year, Thomas Busse, did not race at the Bronco Invite, but could be a large part of how the team race plays out this weekend.
UC-Davis will be looking to defend their regional title from 2018 and capture another win over Cal Poly after losing their last two match-ups at 2018 Nationals and the Santa Clara Bronco Invite this year. The team does lose their top two returners from last year, Nathan Kwan and Jon Horvath, who not only placed first and second at 2018 Regionals, but also took first and second overall at 2018 Nationals in Lexington. It’s hard to lose the top two runners on your team, but it’s rare for that to also be the top two runners in the country. Davis does return Clancy McConnell (seventh in 2018), James Melkonian (tenth), Devan Becker (23rd), and Adrian Jauregui (26th) from their top seven last year. McConnell has been leading the team so far this year, running 24:32 at the Bronco Invite. Behind McConnell, Melkonian (25:32), Jauregui (26:15), Manuel Haro (26:42), and David Ramirez (27:01) rounded out the rest of the team’s top five runners. Despite an impressive average time of 26:00 (compared to 26:16 for Cal Poly at the same meet), Davis’s spread of 2:29 (compared to 0:59 for CPDC) led to Cal Poly’s narrow win. The team will need strong races from their third through fifth runners to stay close to the pack of Cal Poly to defend their title.
The last team on the podium in 2018 was the University of Oregon. Coming back this year from their top seven runners is: Robert Pederson (ninth), Eric Beyerle (11th), Blake Hayes (30th), and Wolfgang Seifer (34th). This fall, Oregon has raced at several non-NIRCA competitions. At the beginning of October, they raced at the Charles Bowles Invite with a team average of 26:28 and a spread of 2:20. The scorers for the team included: Jack Evans (25:12), Beyerle (25:20), Hayes (27:05), Josh Gordon (27:07), and Matt Salminen (27:33). They will need big races from their entire team to try to take down Cal Poly and UC-Davis.
Stanford University was fourth at this meet in 2018 and returns their top two runners from that race: Tom Mikkelson (eighth) and Jack Ryan (14th). The Stanford club raced against Cal Poly and UC-Davis at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite, finishing with an average time of 27:50. The team was led by Ryan (25:25), Nate Marshall (26:32), and Ethan Liang (27:06). With more of their runners attending regionals this weekend, including Mikkelson, Stanford will be looking to close the gap to the teams above and earn a spot on the podium.
Individually, the top returners from 2018 are: Dilpreet Singh of University of California, Los Angeles (third), Thomas Busse of CPDC (fifth), Alastair Thurlbeck of Oregon State University (sixth), and Clancy McConnell of UC-Davis (seventh). They will likely be joined at the front of the race by Jack Ryan (Stanford), Jack Evans and Eric Beyerle (Oregon), and Mikolaj Krajewski (CPDC).
Teams: Cal Poly takes first with a tight pack in the front of the race. UC-Davis finishes in a close second, followed by Oregon.
Individuals: Clancy McConnell becomes another UC-Davis individual to win the Pacific Regional. Dilpreet Singh (UCLA) improves on his finish from last year and Jack Evans (Oregon) rounds out the top three.
Pacific Regional Preview - Women (San Carlos, CA)
The Women’s Pacific Regional race features to be the smallest from a total participant standpoint and number of returns making this a wide open race.
UC-Davis returns four individuals who placed in the top 15 last year and will be the clear favorite to repeat as champions. Their squad last year scored 26 points with an average time of 24:09 as they dominated the competition finishing 43 points clear of second place. Danika Newlin, third, is the only returning member from their top five scoring runners but the other returners still ran well. Arlene Peralta returns after finishing 12th, Reece Schweibold finished 13th, and Yareli Lozano finished 15th. The average time of the Mustang’s top 30 returners is 24:43 proving how dominating their team was last year. With only nine total runners in the race, they will need one of the remaining runners to step up if they hope to repeat. Natasha Evans finished 14th at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite with a time of 22:43 and could be that fifth runner or Ashley MacLean, Anne Le, or Mia Ashby, who all ran sub 24:00 times in the same race.
Oregon State has a pair of top 30 returning runners from their fourth place finish last season. Casey Sauter, fourth, and Allison Krein, 22nd, will pace the rest of the team in an attempt to finish on the podium. Amanda Fox finished 31st giving the Beavers a strong top three but it will be a large feat if they hope to overthrow UC-Davis but they do return some firepower and a top three finish should be within their sights.
Oregon also returns a pair of top 30 returning runners in Kristen Meyer, 14th, and Marika Tammaru, 23rd. Like the other teams in this Regional, they have not participated in any NIRCA events this year but both have experience and are not likely to be phased as they transition to being the leaders of their squad. The Ducks only have six additional runners leaving them with very little wiggle room to falter if they hope to bring a team trophy back to Eugene.
Stanford has a strong chance of having the fastest runner on Saturday. Nicole Ticea finished second last year with a time of 23:36, 0:20 seconds faster than the third place runner. If Ticea can put in another performance like she did last year, expect her to be awarded the first place medal. Teammates Kate Callon and Nineveh O’Connell ran well at the Bronco Invite where they finished 25th and 71st with times of 23:03 and 24:39 respectively. The Cardinal Trio may have enough to push the squad into contention for a trophy.
Cal Poly does not return any of their top 30 runners from last year and does not have a full team of five to fight for a team spot, but they do have Mira Mohan who ran well at the Bronco Invite where she finished 36th with a time of 23:20. Mohan will be looking for individual glory when she lines up in San Carlos.
1st - UC-Davis
2nd - Oregon State
3rd - Stanford
Michael Potter, NIRCA