SACRAMENTO – The UCLA men’s and women’s cross country teams wrapped up NCAA regional action with the Bruin men finishing sixth overall while the women placed 12th, Friday morning at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course.
Junior Kelsey Smith paced UCLA in the 6k event with an 11th place finish in a time of 19:46. It was the best finish for a Bruin on the women’s side since Allie Bohannon placed 11th in 2006. Sophomore Ashlee Powers placed 59th with a time of 20:51.
"Kelsey is the heart and soul of this team and she really proved today how good she is," coach Forest Braden said. "She is a competitor and races with desire every time she puts on her spikes. It has been fun to watch her rise to the challenge this season. I was really proud of Sierra today as well. She was not slated to run due to some back issues but stepped up when one of the girls got sick the night before the race."
Junior Meghan Marvin finished 76th with a 21:01 while junior Annie Mooney placed 82nd with a 21:04. Senior Elle Sanders rounded out the top five with a 102nd place finish in a time of 21:26.
Juniors Sierra Vega and Annabel Clarke capped off the Bruin top seven with Vega finishing 112th in a time of 21:33 and Clarke crossing the line in 21:48 for a 131st place finish.
"We have the potential for an amazing women's team but I was very disappointed with the overall effort today," Braden said. "With Kelsey providing low points for us up front we really should have been able to finish much better. We need to be more disciplined and a lot tougher if we are going to compete with the best in this region. They are capable but did not show it today."
Senior Nohe Lema paced the men’s squad with a 30:18 to finish 21st overall in the 10k event. Sophomore Nick Hartle followed with a 26th place finish in a time of 30:29 while senior Dustin Fay crossed the line in 30:37 to place 34th.
"Our men ran with a lot of heart today," coach Braden said. "It was a battle every step of the way and they showed real courage. We could have run better. Not everyone was perfect out there but they still ran with heart and I really respect that."
Junior Daniel Herrera placed 48th overall in a time of 30:51 while senior Patrick Douglas rounded out the top five Bruins with a 58th place finish in 31:04. Freshman Ferdinand Edman placed 70th overall in 31:22 and senior Zack Torres crossed the line in 96th with a 31:55.
"I am proud of the way they finished the season and the way they have bounced back from adversity all year," Braden added. "This is a tough team and they really care about one another. Our top 3 were really competitive. It was really nice to get Dustin and Nohe back racing where they belong."
The NCAA championship will return to Terre Haute, Ind., and is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, on the Indiana State University LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.