Nov. 10, 2007
The No. 21 UCLA men's cross country team finished in seventh-place at the NCAA West Region Championshps on Saturday in Eugene, OR and will have to wait until Sunday evening to see if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. Last year, five teams in the West Region received at-large bids, and this year looks to be just as promising with how strong this region is again this year.
Oregon won the meet with 47 points, while Portland was second with 76. The Bruins were just one point shy of sixth-place (ASU, 141), finishing seventh with a total of 141 points. The top two teams receive automatic bids to Nationals, and leave the rest of the teams waiting until Sunday to see if they made it also.
The Bruins had three athletes earn All-West Region honors as Austin Ramos, Kyle Shackleton and Drew Shackleton finished in the top-25. Ramos was the highest finisher for UCLA with a 17th-place showing in a time of 30:35.4. Kyle Shackleton was just behind him in 18th-place, (30:37.80), while his twin brother Drew was 21st in a time of 30:41.25.
"It's clear to me that there are seven outstanding national caliber teams in the Western Region," said head coach Eric Peterson. "It's unfortunate that for us today we finished in the tail end of that group. It wasn't beacuse of a lack of effort because at the 4-mile mark, our team was in the most competitive team position we've been in all season long.
"What we suffered from today was Austin and Laef (Barnes) not being able to finsih the race off as we are accustomed to seeing them do. Between the two of them, we had to absorb around 30-35 points that we otherwise would have benefited from had they finished how they typically do.
"We had two very good races out of Kyle and Drew, as well as a strong performance from Henry (Hagenbuch) in our fifth-spot. It's out of our hands right now but we are hopeful seven isn't going to keep us on the outside looking in at Nationals.
"I know Laef is pretty disappointed about his performance, but he's been battling a chest cold and moving up to the 10k distance kind of hindered his ability today.
"I'm proud of the team and the way they competed. It would be great for us to have an opportunity to compete one more time. We feel we are deserving of that chance. We have a lot of wins over teams that have auto qualified out of the other reigons, and that's a strong place to start for the at-large selection process. We just hope we can get to the point in the process that we get considered and evaluated.
At-large team selections will be announced on Sunday evening. If UCLA is not chosen as a team, there is a strong possibility that two or three Bruin runners could be accepted as an individual.
Team Results (top 5 of 24 teams)
1. Oregon, 47 points; 2. Portland, 76 points; 3. Stanford, 100 points; 4. California, 112 points; 5. Cal Poly SLO, 116 points; 7. UCLA, 142 points.
UCLA Individual Results (174 runners)
17. Austin Ramos, 30:35.45; 18. Kyle Shackleton, 30:37.80; 21. Drew Shackleton, 30:41.25; 36. Laef Barnes, 31:05.40; 50. Henry Hagenbuch, 31:28.40; 72. Marlon Patterson, 32:02.30; 77. Alex Crabill, 32:08.15.