This year, CSUSM had yet another great year in terms of fall sports. It’d be tough to argue that any performance was better than the Cougars Cross Country showing this season.
The men’s team began their season without hesitation. They opened with consecutive first place team finishes and never looked back. The competition got tougher as the season went along, but the Cougars didn’t back down.
At the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships, the Cougars managed a 2nd place team finish, highlighting Josh Litwiller who took 1st place overall with a time of 24:40.28. This was a huge accomplishment for the Cougars, but they weren’t finished just yet.
Next on the agenda was the NCAA DII West Regionals which took place in Monmouth, Oregon. Litwiller and the Cougars made history as Litwiller punched in another 1st place finish (29:54.3) leading his team to a 3rd place team finish and their first ever appearance at the NCAA National Championships held in Sacramento.
At the NCAA National Championships, it was undoubtedly a huge challenge as the Cougars went up against their most ambitious competitors yet on an intimidating stage. Once again, as they did all season long, the Cougars showed no interest in shying away from the challenge.
The team finished 12th out of 34 teams with their first runner to cross the finish line being none other than Josh Litwiller finishing 17th overall (30:15.8). Litwiller has exhausted his NCAA DII eligibility and was recognized with All-American Honors.
On the other side of CSUSM Cross Country, the Women’s team didn’t disappoint either. They too opened up the season with a 1st place team finish and then followed it with a 2nd place team finish in their next meet.
When it came time for the CCAA Conference meet, the Cougars were ready. They finished 6th out of a total of 12 teams as their top finisher was Marina McDonough (6th, 22:25.96).
At the NCAA DII West Regionals, they placed 8th out of 27 teams as their top finisher was yet again Marina Mcdonough with her personal best time (19th, 21:12.1). Although they didn’t qualify for nationals, it was a well accomplished season and the Cougars look to improve next season.