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Bilo, Ritter Lead Cal Poly to Pair of XC Wins at UCSB's Lagoon Open

Bilo, Ritter Lead Cal Poly to Pair of XC Wins at UCSB's Lagoon Open

Mustang Women's Squad Wins 18-41; Men's Team Earns 28-29 Blue-Green Rivalry Victory to Start 2019

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Led by a medalist performance by senior Peyton Bilo along with a runner-up individual finish from junior Jake Ritter, the Cal Poly women's and men's cross country teams began the 2019 season with a sweep against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at the Gauchos' annual Lagoon Open.

Bilo, who also won the meet in 2016 as a sophomore, claimed Saturday's victory with a 5-kilometer effort of 17 minutes, 53.6 seconds, setting the tone for an 18-41 team win. Ritter, the defending Big West Conference champion, clocked an 8k time of 24:38.7 (12.9 seconds back of Gaucho junior Nick Randazzo), as his squad won 28-29. Randazzo also won individually on his home terrain at the 2018 Blue-Green Rivalry matchup.

Beginning with the men's event starting out from behind the U-CEN building on-campus, redshirt freshmen John Bennett (24:41.9) and Will Fallini-Haas (25:09.1) tallied third & fourth-place performances to help lead the way to the victory.

Redshirt freshman Anthony Benitez added an eighth-place time of 25:29.43 in his scoring debut for the Mustangs, while junior Chas Cook (16th altogether in 25:54.7) rounded out the men's scoring, followed by redshirt freshmen Brett Hickman (24th overall; 26:45.6) & Hayden Hansen (25th; 26:49.3) .

Meanwhile, competing on an unattached basis, true freshman Will Sheaffer came in seventh overall (via 25:22.8), Manny Guzman took 18th (at 25:58.9) and Lucas Lacambra also posted a top-20 showing at his first collegiate meet, in 19th at 26:16.2.

Then in the ensuing women's race, Bilo (an All-American in 2016 after winning the Big West title) ran to the crown by a margin of just over 12 seconds, edging a fellow member of the conference champion club, teammate Miranda Daschian (last fall's individual champ, who also advanced to the NCAA Championships), second at 18:05.6.

Former Big West Freshman of the Year Sierra Brill, now a junior, tallied fourth place in 18:15.08, while junior Angela DiPentino (18:45.0) and redshirt freshman Misty Diaz (18:49.5) added sixth and seventh-place points, respectively. Junior Ashley Heys also clocked a top-10 effort, taking ninth with a time of 18:58.8, ahead of Chase Worthen in 15th at 19:09.1 and sophomores Sydnie Rivas (17th; 19:12.2) and Lexi Watkins (20th; 19:14.8).

Running in a non-scoring capacity (unattached), true freshman Aimee Armstrong finished eighth overall in 18:51.7, and Kaia Hoak was 11th in 19:01.8, before Giovanna da Silva took 18th altogether, at 19:12.8.

Cal Poly, ranked No. 7 in the Preseason Women's Regional Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the men's USTFCCCA Western Rankings, will now have a two-week training period ahead before its next meet.

The Mustangs return to the course at the UCR Invitational, hosted at Riverside's Ag. Ops. Course, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.