Oct. 30, 2010
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Every member of the Pacific women's cross-country team set a new personal best Saturday at the 6K Big West Championship at UC Riverside Agriculture Course. Led by freshman Melissa Hopper, the Tigers improved their team average by two minutes and two seconds over last season's Big West time.
"Two weeks ago we labeled today as PR Day," head coach Josh Jones. "When we woke up to run this morning, with the muddy course I didn't know what to expect. The conditions did not phase the ladies at all. They had tunnel vision and ran the best race of their life. This race represented their hard work and their dedication to this program. I couldn't be more proud of this team."
Hopper's time of 23:11 set a new Pacific freshman record and was the third fastest time by a Tiger all-time. She finished 52nd among scorers, 59th overall.
"Today was unquestionably the best day of the season," Hopper said. "We were all focused, we ran smart, and we ran with heart. Our goal today was to have everyone run a personal record and that's what we did. We wanted to run the best races we could and though it out through the entire 3.72 mile course. I can hardly describe how happy I was to see everyone cross the finish line, knowing that they'd given their best in that race."
Sophomore Jazmin Quiroz was the second Tiger across the line, topping her personal best by 42 seconds with a time of 24:29. The time puts her into the school's top 10 list, and was good for a 68th finish,
Senior Katie Bella (69th overall, 59th scorer) trimmed her personal best by 28 seconds, completing the course in 25:29.
"Coming back after a year abroad, I really wasn't satisfied with where I was mentally or physically," Bella commented. "But with so much love and support from my team, not only have I gotten back to where I should be but I surpassed that level getting significant PR's in the last two races. I feel awesome and even though my collegiate running career has ended, I will always keep running and this team, with extremely hardworking passionate ladies and an incredibly dedicated coach, they will always be in my heart every step of the way."
Sophomore Monica Torres slashed her personal best time by 1:53 with a time of 25:47 to place 71st. A pair of Tigers freshmen rounded out the scoring, with Marina Ota running the course in 26-flat, 1:11 better than her previous quick mark. Cassidi Rush's time of 26:14 was 1:31 better than her previous best mark, as she placed 73rd.
The Tigers placed ninth as a team, with an average time of 24:59 and a total of 290 points. UC Santa Barbara won the Big West Championship with a score of 35. The Gaucho's senior Amanda Moreno won the individual title in 19:57.