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Ritter, Daschian Named Athletes of Year; Conover, Bayley Coaches of Year

Ritter, Daschian Named Athletes of Year; Conover, Bayley Coaches of Year

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Jake Ritter and Miranda Daschian were selected for the Big West Athlete of the Year Awards for cross country on Thursday, and Cal Poly's Mark Conover and Priscilla Bayley were announced as the conference's Coaches of the Year for 2018.

It's the sixth time in conference history a school has swept those four awards, including the third for the Mustangs. (In addition to Cal Poly accomplishing the feat in 2013 and 2016, UC Irvine achieved it three straight falls from 1985-87.)

Both Ritter and Daschian won individual titles this past Saturday in Brea, while Conover and Bayley's teams each won conference championships.

Ritter, a sophomore from Citrus Heights, claimed the 8k crown in 24:27.5 at Carbon Canyon Park, setting the tone for a 37-point team win thanks to a score of 32.

During the regular season, Ritter also had team-best performances at the Covert Classic on Sept. 1 (in 24:51.4, good for fourth place) and UCSB Lagoon Open (via 25:02.1, securing third place). He also took 17th at the Stanford Invite (24:40.2) and 88th at the Wisconsin Pre-Nats (24:57.3).

A junior from Atascadero and Cuesta College, Daschian won the 6k championship in 21:23.1, helping the squad win the team trophy with 33 points.

Daschian also posted a first-place finish to open the regular season at the Covert Classic (17:45.7 in a 5k), another team-best performance at Stanford (21:17.8, good for 11th place), and then a 61st-place 21:24.1 at Wisconsin. She was a two-time Big West Athlete of the Week, earning the accolade Sept. 4 & Oct. 2.

This is Conover's altogether 20th Big West Coach of the Year Award, and the first for Bayley after being named Head Women's Cross Country Coach in August of 2017.

Also Thursday, the conference announced Tyler Spencer of Long Beach State as the 2018 Men's Freshman of the Year, while the Women's co-Freshman of the Year accolade was shared between Lucina Vincent from Cal State Fullerton and Eva Goodisson of UC Davis.

Cal Poly next heads to the NCAA West Regional Championships, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 9. Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento will host the meet, beginning at 11 a.m.

Photos © Foster Snell