Men Battle to Solid Sixth Place at WCC Championship

Oct. 30, 2010

BELMONT, Calif. - The University of San Diego men's cross country team finished in a solid sixth place with 146 points on the day at the West Coast Conference Championships. Chris Flaherty lead the squad with an 8th place finish overall followed by a WCC All-Conference award for his top time.

"We had a great race going today, competing for fourth place," said head coach Will Guarino. "Unfortunately one of our guys was injured mid-race and we dropped to sixth."

The University of Portland captured its 32nd consecutive West Coast Conference Men's Cross Country Championship on Saturday morning at Crystal Springs Course by narrowly defeating the University of San Francisco.

The Pilots kept their championship streak alive with a team score of 36, while San Francisco finished at 43. Santa Clara finished third with a team score of 96 and Loyola Marymount was fourth with 97.

The Pilots had four of the top seven finishers in the race, led by individual champion Craig Hopkins. The race's defending champion, Alfred Kipchumba of Portland, withdrew early in the race because of injury.

"We felt like we had a 60-40 chance coming into the race, and knew it was going to be close," Portland head coach Rob Conner said. "We felt if USF got some momentum during the race it would be 50-50, and that is what happened. I'm really proud of our guys for running tough, patient and smart. It takes a team effort when one of your top guys goes down, and it took a lot of toughness for us to gut it out."

Portland has now won every WCC Championship since 1979, and all 26 championships contested at Crystal Springs. The University of Nevada won the first four WCC Men's Cross Country Championships from 1975-78 before Portland began its current streak. Hopkins became Portland's 31st individual champion in the last 32 years by coming from behind in the final stretch to cross the finish line in 25:01. Hopkins' time was the eighth best time since the conference began running an 8K championship race in 1993.



"I did not expect to win the race," Hopkins said. "This is the first time I have been here, and I haven't run on a lot of hilly courses this season."

Hopkins beat a pair of San Francisco runners to the finish line as freshman Jose Madera was two seconds behind in second place at 25:03 and Ganbileg Bor finished third in 25:05. Madera was named the 2010 WCC Freshman of the Year after Saturday's performance.

Chris Boyle of Gonzaga (25:08) and Aaron Scott of Portland (25:11) rounded out the top five, followed by Cody Wells of Portland (25:17), Jared Bassett of Portland (25:20), Chris Flaherty of San Diego (25:28), Jeremy Grace of San Francisco (25:28) and Weston Strum of Loyola Marymount (25:30). The top 10 finishers in the race were named to the 2010 WCC All-Conference Team, and the 11th through 15th place finishers were named Honorable Mention.

The 2010 WCC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year honors were shared by Conner and Helen Lehman-Winters of San Francisco. The Coach of the Year honor is the seventh for Conner and second in a row. Lehman-Winters, who was named the 2010 WCC Women's Coach of the Year, was also named WCC Men's Cross Country Co-Coach of the Year in 2005.

2010 West Coast Conference Men's Cross Country Championships
8K race at Crystal Springs Course
Belmont, California

Team Scores
1. Portland 36
2. San Francisco 43
3. Santa Clara 96
4. Loyola Marymount
97 5. Gonzaga 107
6. San Diego 146
7. Saint Mary's 199
8. Pepperdine 226

Top Individual Finishers
1. Craig Hopkins (Portland) 25:01
2. Jose Madera (San Francisco) 25:03
3. Ganbileg Bor (San Francisco) 25:05
4. Chris Boyle (Gonzaga) 25:08
5. Aaron Scott (Portland) 25:11
6. Cody Wells (Portland) 25:17
7. Jared Bassett (Portland) 25:20
8. Chris Flaherty (San Diego) 25:28
9. Jeremy Grace (San Francisco) 25:28
10. Weston Strum (Loyola Marymount) 25:30
11. Ben Demaree (Santa Clara) 25:37
12. Sterling Lockert (Loyola Marymount) 25:40
13. Austin Jones (Santa Clara) 25:44
14. Steven Garboden (San Francisco) 25:46
15. Will Marquardt (San Francisco) 25:52
16. Robb Van Wyck (Saint Mary's) 25:59
17. Robert Cosby (Portland) 26:01
18. Colin Hopkins (San Francisco) 26:03
19. Kevin Oliver (Santa Clara) 26:04
20. Luca Signore (Santa Clara) 26:07

2010 West Coast Conference Men's Cross Country All-Conference Team
Name Year School Hometown
Jared Bassett So. Portland Coos Bay, OR
Ganbileg Bor Jr. San Francisco Daly City, CA
Chris Boyle Jr. Gonzaga Seattle, WA
Chris Flaherty So. San Diego Fort Worth, TX
Jeremy Grace Jr. San Francisco Dublin, CA
Craig Hopkins Jr. Portland Norwich, England
Jose Madera Fr. San Francisco Anaheim, CA
Aaron Scott Fr. Portland Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Weston Strum Fr. Loyola Marymount San Jose, CA
Cody Wells So. Portland Snowflake, AZ

Honorable Mention
Ben Demaree (Santa Clara)
Steven Garboden (San Francisco)
Austin Jones (Santa Clara)
Sterling Lockert (Loyola Marymount)
Will Marquardt (San Francisco)

WCC Individual Champion: Craig Hopkins (Portland)
WCC Men's Co-Coaches of the Year: Rob Conner (Portland) & Helen Lehman-Winters (San Francisco)
WCC Freshman of the Year: Jose Madera (San Francisco)

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