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Daschian, Jameson Lead Cal Poly to 8th & 10th Place at NCAA Regionals

Daschian, Jameson Lead Cal Poly to 8th & 10th Place at NCAA Regionals

Inaugural NCAA Cross Country Selection Show Set for 2 p.m. PST Saturday

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Competing against the Pac-12, Mountain West, WCC, WAC and Big Sky conferences Friday, the Cal Poly cross country program chalked up a pair of top-10 finishes at the NCAA West Regional Championships at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.

The Mustang women's squad began the meet taking eighth place in the 6k, scoring 232 points, led by junior Miranda Daschian's 18th-place performance of 20 minutes, 10.3 seconds. Evan Jameson then paced the men in the ensuing postseason 10k to a 10th-place team score of 284, as the junior earned 33rd individually in 30:10.7.

"The team ran very tough and was very competitive; we're obviously proud of their efforts, getting top-10 in each gender," said Cal Poly Director of Track and Cross Country Mark Conover.

Starting out from box 13 among 36 schools, Cal Poly also had Katie Izzo tally a 22nd-place finish, crossing in 20:14.5.

If unofficial projections go as expected, including Oregon State likely to be selected on a team basis, both Daschian and Izzo will advance as individuals to the NCAA finals, hosted by Wisconsin on Nov. 17.

A total of 31 full teams per side (two automatically-qualifying per region, for 18 automatic bids complemented by 13 at-large squads each) will move on to Madison, while 38 individuals per side also are selected to advance.

"All signs point to them going," Mustang Head Women's Coach Priscilla Bayley said in surveying the field.

Daschian, the 2018 Big West Conference Athlete of the Year, and Izzo "worked together and moved up smoothly through the field," Bayley added. "They came down the home stretch side-by-side pushing each other."

"I'm very proud of this team," Bayley said. "Our goal coming in was for everyone who toed the line to run to their potential, and they definitely did that."

"Miranda executed an excellent tactical race," Bayley said of the reigning conference medalist, "and she moved through well in the final 2,000 meters."

Abbey Fisk also came in 50th place in 21:00.7, followed closely by fellow sophomore Sierra Brill taking 58th at 21:07.4.

A game-day decision was made to hold out 2016 All-American Peyton Bilo, "a hard (decision) to make" because "we knew she would strengthen our chances," Bayley continued. "We really needed some people to step up big, and I was very impressed with the effort Sierra Brill came through with. Really, across the board from 1-to-7, they all ran with heart and ran well when it mattered most."

"It was our highest-ever team finish without one of our top three, so that was really phenomenal," Bayley said, "and I can't get over how everyone stepped up when they needed to."

Izzo's top-25 performance also came on the two-year anniversary of breaking her leg at the same exact meet — on the same course.

"There's something special in this sport that sometimes the lowest and most terrible experiences can be the start of something amazing," Bayley said. "For Katie to come in and compete the way she did and kind of un-do everything that happened to her in the past is one of the most amazing things I've seen in the sport in my career."

Maddie McDonald added a 92nd-place time of 21:33.0 to round out the Mustang scoring, ahead of Annie Meeder in 95th place at 21:35.2 and Delaney Fitzsimmons 151st (22:18.6).

Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the most recent national coaches poll, topped third-ranked Boise State by a five-point margin for the women's crown, 44-49, as the two seized the automatic team bids to the NCAA finals. Boise State junior Allie Ostrander captured a dominant individual victory in 19:09.0, beating the rest of the field by a 13.5-second gap.

Cal Poly started out from the 10th box in the men's qualifier.

Assessing the West as the deepest region in the country, Conover added "the guys did a great job putting themselves in there and going after it. They ran with a lot of heart and gave all you can ask for."

Jake Ritter, a sophomore coming off winning the conference title two weeks ago, added a 52nd-place 10k of 30:39.9.

Justin Robison also made his return to the course, taking 63rd place in 30:48.9, while Benjamin Holland (69th with a time of 30:55.2) and Sean McDermott (74th, via 30:58.8) posted scoring finishes as well.

Mikey Giguere added an 88th-place 31:22.2, followed by teammate Logan Marshall in 101st at 31:39.1.

All of the Mustangs' top four Friday will return next season. "There's a deep talented roster, and the future looks bright," Conover said.

Portland, No. 4 in the latest national rankings, edged No. 7 Washington, as the Pacific Northwest duo claimed each of the available automatic berths, 77-82. The Pilots also had the individual champion on the men's side, as senior Nick Hauger (29:42.4) bested Arizona junior Carlos Villarreal by 1.4 seconds.

Friday's eight other regionals across the country were contested in Terre Haute, Indiana (Great Lakes Region), University Park, Pennsylvania (Mid-Atlantic Region), Peoria, Illinois (Midwest Region), Provo, Utah (Mountain Region), Buffalo, New York (Northeast Region), Tallahassee, Florida (South Region), Rock Hill, South Carolina (Southeast Region) and College Station, Texas (South Central Region).

The full national championship fields will be announced at 2 p.m. PST Saturday on NCAA.com, through the inaugural NCAA Cross Country Selection Show. Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course is set to serve as the host site for the NCAA Championships, televised on FloTrack next Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. CST.