By Rory Miller - Assistant Sports Information Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LA JOLLA – The scent of the giant Eucalyptus grove that lined the Triton Classic's 6-kilometer course must have smelled especially sweet to the Chico State women's cross country team Saturday. On the strength of four top 10 finishes – including a winning time from Ayla Granados – the Wildcats took top team honors in their final tune-up before the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Championships.
Chico State, ranked sixth in the nation and No. 2 in the West Region, totaled 33 team points to edge host UC San Diego and finish well ahead of the six other competing schools.
Granados was the first of the 100-runner field to cross the finish line, clocking in at 22:06.8. Wildcat teammate and All-American Sara Mikesell came in second with a time of 22:30.1.
Rebekah Bahra and Sadie Gastelum also posted top 10 finishes. Bahra placed eighth at 22:57.8, while Gastelum was 10th with a time of 23:00.6.
Five Chico State runners – Hayley Swanson (12th place, 23:05.6), Jordan Walsh (13th, 23:06.2), Jessica Varela (15th, 23:09.4), Bailey Henshaw (18th, 23:18.4) and Jacquie Adams (19th, 23:19.2) delivered top 20 performances.
A half-dozen Wildcats rounded out Saturday's impressive team performance, with only one runner placing outside the top 40:
-- McCall Habermehl (21st place, 23:23.4)
-- Olivia Watt (24th place, 23:28.9)
-- Jackie Mansoor (26th place, 23:33.4)
-- Julie Finn (33rd place, 23:44.1)
-- Tiffany Heflin (34th place, 23:45.3)
-- Madison Grenier (42nd place, 24:03.0)
The Chico State women return to action Saturday, Oct. 26 when it hosts the CCAA Cross Country Championships at Bidwell Park's Hooker Oak complex.