CLAREMONT - One year after being snubbed from the NCAAs, the Banana Slug men are going back to the big race.
On Sunday, UC Santa Cruz was picked as an at-large team entry for the 2019 Division III Championship. It is the second time in school history the team is going after the 2017 squad also made it.
The men finished third at Saturday's West Regionals at Pomona-Pitzer and the women were sixth- the same finishing places as last year. It's the third top-three finish in a row for the men, and fifth top-seven finish at regionals in the past 6 years for the women.
"The NCAA West Regional Championships are the big meet we train for all season, and hope that we can do something special when we get there'" said head coach David Klech. "We left Walla Walla last year pretty disappointed, and have had this day in our mind for the last 365 days.
Paul Colosi finished 13th in the 8K to lead the men in 25:47.6. He becomes the first UCSC track or Cross Country athlete to make four national Championship appearances. Hayden Johnson was 15th in 25:48.5, the fastest Freshman in the West.
In the women's 6K, Elana Muzzy finished 13th in 22:59.8 to earn All-Region honors. It was the 8th best finish by a UC Santa Cruz Woman ever at Regionals. Senior Natalie Marquardt placed 25th in 23:31.3 and freshman Ella Ruff was 33rd in 23.31.4 to also make All-Region. The three All-Region honorees were the most by a Banana Slug team ever and has given the UCSC women five in the past two years.