2004 Season Archive

Day Date Meet Place
Sat. Sep. 11 Fresno Invitational Fresno, CA
Sat. Sep. 25 Stanford Invitational Palo Alto, CA
Sat. Oct. 2 Wilamette Invitational
men's results
women's results
Salem, OR
Sat. Oct. 23 CCAA Championships
men's results
women's results
Pomona, CA
Sat. Nov. 6 West Region Championships
men's results
women's results
Bellingham, WA
Sat. Nov. 20 NCAA Championships
men's results
women's results
Evansville, IN

2004 Season Results • Meet-by-Meet (PDF)

2004 Season Stories

Springhorn receives CCAA award
WALNUT CREEK - Chico State's Steven Springhorn and Maija Panttaja were selected as the Wildcats' 2004-05 recipients of the California Collegiate Athletic Association Dr. Hal Charnofsky Outstanding Scholar-Athlete and Inspirational Scholar-Athlete awards.

Springhorn, a member of the cross country and track and field teams, was chosen the Wildcats' top scholar-athlete. Panttaja, who played on the women's basketball team, was picked the top inspirational scholar-athlete.

The award is named after Charnofsky, a longtime faculty athletics representative for Cal State Dominguez Hills who died in 2003. Recipients are selected by their staff members of each school's athletic department.

Springhorn also received Chico State's Scholar Athlete Award, presented earlier in the spring, which is awarded annually to a male and female intercollegiate athlete who have illustrated excellence in their academic pursuits as well as in their respective sports.

Men's cross country finishes fourth to bring home the hardware again
Women's team finishes sixth in the nation
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - For the second straight year the Chico State men's cross country squad finished fourth in the nation at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to bring home a plaque, which are only given to the top four teams in Division II. The Chico State women took sixth overall in Evansville.

The finish ties the highest-ever mark for the Wildcat men, set last year, and marked the third year in a row they placed in the top five.

The men's race was really, really, really, loaded, said Wildcats coach Gary Towne. We had a better team this year, ran a better race, but we were just up against better competition. I'm really happy with how we finished.

Patrick Boivin (32:28.3), who collected his third All-American honor in as many years, finished ninth overall to lead the team to a 144-point finish. Western State won with 39 points, followed by Adams State with 76, and Abilene Christian with 137. Abilene Christian's Nicodemus Naimadu was the top medalist at 31:38.1

Scott Bauhs and Joel Martinez also finished as All-Americans. Bauhs (33:03.9) was 24th overall and Martinez (33:08.9) was 27th in the 184-runner field. For Martinez, it was his second All-America honor

Seven Springhorn (33:32.8) and Antonio Miramontes (33:43.6) rounded out the Wildcat scoring, finishing 42nd and 46th, respectively.

In the women's race, the Wildcats finished sixth overall with 219 points. Adams State won its second straight national title with 31 points. Edinboro (101 pts) and Western State (134), Grand Valley State (171), and Kennesaw (215) made up the top five.

The women had our roughest day of the year, Towne said, but even on our roughest day we were still No. 6 in the nation.

Jennifer James (22:48.2), who won the 2004 CCAA individual title, gained All-American status, finishing 25th overall on the 6k course. Ciara Harvey (23:17.8) was 48th, Sarah Montez (23:22.0) finished 53rd, Kelly Ortlieb (23:36.3) was 62nd, and Mary Biggs (24:19.4) was 105th overall.

Complete men's results
Complete women's results

Click on logo for championship site
Wildcat headed to Championships in Indiana
The Chico State cross country program will be looking to further solidify its position as one of the nation’s top programs when it returns to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships this Saturday in Evansville, Indiana.

The Wildcat men and women each finished fifth at the national championships in 2002, fourth in 2003, and they might be better than ever this season. They’ve each enjoyed a national ranking as high as No. 3 in 2004.

“We keep getting better, but so does everyone else,” said Chico State head coach Gary Towne. “It’s going to be a real challenge for us to improve on last year’s finish.”

But the Wildcats have some very talented runners who might just be up to the task. On the men’s side, the Wildcats enter ranked No. 5 in the nation having dominated the CCAA and Western Regional Championships. Chico State is paced by two-time All-American Scott Boivin, who finished 15th at last year’s national final. True freshman Scott Bauhs, who placed fourth at the regional championships despite falling three times in the muddy conditions, and Steven Springhorn, who finished third in that race, will also be expected to lead the charge.

This season has been a bit of a surprise for the women, whose top two returners chose to redshirt in 2004. But this scrappy crew has shocked everyone and enters the finals ranked No. 4 in the nation. CCAA champion Jennifer James will lead the Wildcats into battle, along with Sarah Montez and Laura Cohen, who will benefit from last year’s championship experience. Kelly Ortlieb, who placed 36th last year, is returning from a calf injury and is a bit of a question mark. How she runs could make a huge difference.

Nevertheless, in the world of Division II Cross Country, two teams from Colorado – Adams State and Western State – will be considered the teams to beat until someone knocks them off. Abilene Christian, Chico State, and Harding make up the top five on the men’s side, from which the individual and team champions are expected to come. For the women, seven teams are expected to be in the mix for the title: Adams State, Western State, Grand Valley State, Chico State, Edinboro, Northern Michigan, and Tampa.

Wildcat easily win both men's and women's West Regional
Next up: D-II Nation Championships in Indiana

BELLINGHAM, Wash. --- Chico State easily defended its team championships in both the men's and women's divisions at the 2004 NCAA Division II West Regional Cross Country Championships on Saturday on a muddy and rain-soaked Lake Padden Park course.

Chico State, ranked No.4 nationally in both the men's and women's polls, advances to the national championships at Evansville, Ind., on Nov. 20, along with the second and third place regional finishers.

Chico State won the men's title for the third straight time, packing all seven runners into the top 11 finishers for a low score of 30 points in the 17-team field. Cal Poly Pomona was second with 73, and Seattle Pacific edged UC San Diego for third, 143 to 154.

In the women's race, the Wildcats placed five runners among the top 15 for a winning score of 49 points among 19 teams. UC San Diego was second with 96 and Alaska Anchorage edged Seattle Pacific for third place, 168 to 172.

“It seems like every year just gets a little better for us,” said Chico State coach Gary Towne, who was named the region's Coach of the Year for both men and women. “Our program is just developing and the kids are becoming accustomed to success. They just step in and know they have to represent. Just five years ago we were just happy to have a shot at getting to nationals, and now they're really kicking in and trying to become a top team.”

“The whole thing for us is just staying focused on the job at hand. We knew the weather would kind of throw things off a bit, days like this can be really equalizing. We just didn't want to become a victim of the conditions, we just wanted to make sure fitness prevailed.”

Brigham Young University-Hawaii's Chelsea Smith won her second straight individual women's title and taking the men's individual crown was Cal Poly Pomona's Mark Batres, who edged teammate Daniel Rojas by two seconds. Batres completed the 10-kilometer distance in 32:09. Smith, the defending NCAA II national champion, was clocked in 21:43 over 6-kilometers, 24 seconds ahead of Seattle Pacific's Karen Dickson.

Smith was named the Outstanding Female Performer, and Batres the Outstanding Male Performer.


TEAM RESULTS - 1. Chico State 30, 2. Cal Poly Pomona 73, 3.Seattle Pacific 143, 4. UC San Diego 154, 5. Alaska Anchorage 180, 6. Western Washington 197, 6. Western Oregon 197, 8. Humboldt State 200, 9. Central Washington 229, 10. Northwest Nazarene 231, 11. BYU Hawaii 240, 12. Cal State Stanislaus 316, 13. Saint Martin's 353, 14. Seattle U. 363, 15. Hawaii Hilo 377, 16. San Francisco State 401, 17. Montana State Billings 538.

CHICO INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (10K) - 3. Steven Springhorn 32:23, 4. Scott Bauhs 32:42, 6. Patrick Boivin 32:55, 8. Chris Layman 33:24, 9. Kyle Ivie 33:26, 10. Antonio Miramontes 33:30, 11. Charlie Serrano 33:31.
Men's complete results


TEAM RESULTS - 1. Chico State 49, 2. UC San Diego 96, 3. Alaska Ancorage 168, 4. Seattle Pacific 172, 5. Central Washington 178, 6. Cal Poly Pomona 179, 7. Seattle U. 225, 8. Western Washington 231, 9. BYU Hawaii 234, 10. Cal State Stanislaus 256, 11. Humboldt State 279, 12. Montana State Billings 294, 13. Cal State San Bernardino 303, 14. Cal State Bakersfield 353, 15. Northwest Nazarene 356, 16. Saint Martin's 415, 17. Western Oregon 429, 18. Cal State Los Angeles 436, 19. San Francisco State 533.

CHICO INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (6K) - 6. Jennifer James 23:23, 7. Sarah Montez 23:29, 8. Ciara Harvey 23:30, 13. Mary Biggs 23:47, 15. Laura Cohen 23:50, 22. Paige Osborn 24:11, 30. Hilary Oppido 24:22.

Wildcat set out to defend West Region titles
Bright and early Thursday morning the Chico State Cross Country teams depart for Bellingham, Washington, to defend their West Region titles at the NCAA D-II Cross Country West Regional hosted by Western Washington on Sat., Nov. 6, at Lake Padden Park.

The 10-kilometer men's race starts at 10:30 a.m., followed by the women's 6-kilometer run at 11:45 a.m. The top three teams in both the men's and women's divisions advance to the national championships at Evansville, Ind., on Nov. 20.

Chico State is the pre-meet favorite to win both the men's and women's team titles. The defending champion Wildcat women are ranked No.4 nationally in the NCAA II Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 and No. 1 in the West Region, and the men, who have won the last two regional crowns, are rated No.4 nationally and No. 1 in the West.

Chico State dominated the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Oct. 23, the women sweeping the top five places, and the men putting seven runners among the top 10.
Expected to provide the toughest competition for the Wildcat men are nationally No.19-ranked Cal Poly Pomona and No.21 UC San Diego. The UC San Diego women, rated No.11 nationally, could also challenge Chico State. The Pomona men placed second at the CCAA Championships as did the UC San Diego women.

Cal Poly Pomona features two of the favorites to win the men's individual title in Daniel Rojas and Mark Batres, who finished 1-2 at the CCAA Championships. Chico State's Patrick Boivin, along with many of his Wildcat teammates, will also contend.

The seven runners representing Chico State are seniors Chris Layman (All-CCAA, All-West) and Steven Springhorn (All-CCAA), junior Boivin (All-CCAA, All-West, All-American), sophomores Charlie Serrano (All-CCAA, All-West, track All-American) and Antonio Miramontes (All-CCAA), and freshmen Scott Bauhs (All-CCAA) and Ivie (All-CCAA).

Favorites for the women's individual title are Brigham Young-Hawaii's Chelsea Smith and Seattle Pacific's Karen Dickson. Smith is the reigning NCAA II national and regional champion, while Dickson has won all five meets she's competed in this fall, including the Western Invitational at Lake Padden Park on Oct. 9. Chico State also has runners who should battle for the title, led by CCAA champion Jennifer James.

The seven runners representing Chico State are seniors Paige Osborn (All-CCAA and All-West as a freshman) and Laura Cohen (All-CCAA), Juniors James (track All-American), Mary Biggs (All-CCAA) and Ciara Harvey (All-CCAA), and sophomores Sarah Montez (All-CCAA, All-West) and Hilary Oppido.

Wildcats sweep CCAA meet with ease
Seventeen Wildcats earn All-CCAA honors
POMONA, Calif. – The Chico State men's and women's cross country teams both entered Saturday's CCAA Cross Country Championships ranked No. 3 in the nation. Those rankings can only improve after both teams crushed their competition to win the team titles with ease. The women's team grabbed the first five spots and outdistanced runner-up UC San Diego 15-53. Finishing in eight of the top 10 spots, the men beat second-place Cal Poly Pomona 25-50.

In the women's race, Chico State's Jennifer James finished the 5,600 meters in 20:09, followed by teammates Kelly Ortllieb (20:28), Mary Biggs (20:31), Laura Cohen (20:34), and Ciara Harvey (20:38). All of them, along with teammate Sarah Montez, who finished 13th, garnered All-CCAA honors.

In the men's race, Cal Poly Pomona took home first and second place, but eight Wildcats were right behind, led by Patrick Boivin in third. He finished the 7,200 meter course in 22:36, 17 seconds behind race winner Daniel Rojas. Wildcats Antonio Miramontes (22:42) was fourth, followed by Scott Bauhs (22:42), Beau Bettinger (22:44), Kyle Ivie (22:45), Steven Springhorn (22:46), Charlie Serrano (22:52), and Joe Martinez (22:58). All earned All-CCAA honors, along with 13th-place finisher Chris Layman (23:35), and 14th-place finisher Ernesto Hernandez (23:38).

Chico State's Gary Towne was named the Coach of the Year in both the men's and women's divisions. Chico State's Bauh's was named the men's Freshman of the Year, while Diane Dunn of UC San Diego was the women's Freshman of the Year. Rojas and James earned CCAA Athlete of the Year honors in their respective divisions.

Coach Towne's interview with Trackshark.com
Click here for interview...

Steven Springhorn named CCAA men's cross country runner of the week
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Chico State's Steven Springhorn has been named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week of September 27 through October 3.

Springhorn, a senior from Redding, led the Wildcats to their third-straight Willamette Invitational team championship last week, as he finished the 8,000-meter course fifth out of 261 runners. He crossed the tape in 24:25, marking the second consecutive week he has run a sub-24:30 time.

Wildcat squads ranked No. 3 in the nation
The latest NCAA Division II Cross Country polls have been released and the news is great for the Chico State Wildcats. The women's squad moved up a spot to No. 3 and now matches the men's ranking, which they've held throughout the season. Next up for both squads is the 2004 CCAA Championships hosted by Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 23. Both teams are the defending CCAA and West Region champions.

Oct. 4 Women's rankings (top 10 of 25 listed)
School (previous ranking)
1. Adams State (1)
2. Western State (2)
3. Cal State Chico (4)
4. Edinboro (6)
5. Grand Valley (3)
6. Northern Michigan (5)
7. Harding (8)
8. Truman (7)
9. Kennesaw State (9)
10. UC San Diego (19)

Oct. 4 Men's rankings (top 10 of 25 listed)
School (previous ranking)
1. Adams State (1)
2. Western State U (2)
3. Chico State (3)
4. Abilene Christian (5)
5. Harding U. (4)
6. Grand Valley St. (7)
7. Lock Haven (6)
8. U Mass Lowell (8)
9. So. Dakota (12)
10. U of Min.-Mankato (9)

Wildcats defend Willamette titles
SALEM, Wash. - The Chico State cross country teams ran away with victories in in the annual Willamette Invitational in Salem, Wash. Both the men's and women's teams successfully defended their titles from last season.

The Wildcats' Pat Boivin took third overall in 24 minutes, 18 seconds, to lead the team to a 33-point finish in the 28-school field.

The Wildcats had eight runners place in the top 14 including: Steven Springhorn, fifth (25:25), Scott Bauhs, sixth (24:26), and Antonio Miramontes, 10th (24:37).

Edinboro University from Pennsylvania finished the 5-mile course a distant second with 117 points.

Mary Biggs finished the women's 3.1-mile course in 17:43, good for fourth, as the Wildcats earned 48 points.

Jennifer James took fifth (17:46) and Kelly Ortlieb finished eighth (17:56) in the 31-school field.

Edinboro University took second with 82 points.

Jennifer James named CCAA women's cross country runner of the week
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Chico State’s Jennifer James has been named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week of September 20-26.

James, a junior from Redding, was the top non-Division I collegiate finisher in the women’s invitational race at the Stanford Invitational, completing the 6,000-meter course in 22:14 to finish 7th overall. James became the first Chico State runner to finish in the top 10 at the annual event. She led Chico to a 3rd-place finish, behind Stanford and Cal Poly SLO.

Chico State's top Division II school at Stanford Invite
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Another great showing for the Wildcats on the trails at the 31st annual Stanford Cross Country Invitational. The Chico State men tied for second in the 8k race and the women took third in the 6k event.

Steven Springhorn led the Wildcat attack, finishing as the first non-Division I runner across the line. His time of 24:13 was good enough for sixth place overall.

2. 79 Chico State (24:37, 123:04)
1 5 Steven Springhorn 24:13
2 10 Patrick Boivin 24:21
3 17 Antonio Miramontes 24:35
4 21 Joel Martinez 24:49
5 26 Chris Layman 25:06
6 (34) Chris Eggers 25:18
7 (40) Scott Bauhs 25:31

The men's squad tied with Stanford for second place with 79 points, behind the winner Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which finished with 43 points.

The men's squad also competed in the 4k event, finishing fourth overall, behind Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA.

4. 144 Chico State (12:41, 63:25)
1 16 Beau Bettinger 12:24
2 23 Kyle Ivie 12:33
3 29 Ernesto Hernandez 12:40
4 34 Nick Clinton 12:47
5 42 Shea Rollin 13:01
6 (57) Tim Tollefson 13:15
7 (61) Dustin Fee 13:28

The women tallied 98 points to finish third behind the winner Stanford with 34 points and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with 34.

Jennifer James finished seventh overall with a time of 22:14 and was the top non-Division I finisher. It is the first time in Chico State women's cross country history that a runner has finished in the top ten of the prestigious Stanford Invite.

3. 98 Chico State (22:44, 113:37)
1 7 Jennifer James 22:14
2 14 Kelly Ortlieb 22:33
3 18 Mary Biggs 22:42
4 25 Sarah Montez 22:59
5 34 Ciara Harvey 23:09
6 (39) Paige Osborn 23:15
7 (57) Laura Cohen 23:38

The Wildcat women also competed in the 4k race, finishing 15th as a team.

15. 415 Chico State (15:50, 79:07)
1 47 Krista Roessler 15:17
2 82 Aisha Kamala 15:45
3 88 Hilary Oppido 15:50
4 94 Dallase Scott 15:58
5 104 Alicia Wiley 16:17
6 (111) Kellie Stephens 16:27
7 (114) Nancy Cavaletto 16:37

Chico State's Mary Biggs named CCAA Runner of the Week
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- CHICO STATE’s Mary Biggs has been named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week of September 6-12.

Biggs, a junior from Ventura, finished 2nd overall and 1st among collegians at the Fresno State Invitational last week. She finished the 5,000-meter race in 17:57, just one second behind the winner, to lead the Wildcats to a 2nd-place team finish among mostly NCAA Division I schools.

Chico State's Patrick Boivin named CCAA Runner of the Week
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- CHICO STATE’s Patrick Boivin has been named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week of September 6-12.

Boivin, a junior from Rocklin, finished 3rd overall at the Fresno State Invitational (Sept. 10), covering the 8,000-meter course in 25:22, just over a 5-minute per mile pace. He led the Wildcats to a 2nd-place team finish in a field that consistently entirely of NCAA Division I teams other than Chico.

Wildcat cross country teams finish second in Fresno
FRESNO, CA – One thing has become certain about Chico State's cross country teams under head coach Gary Towne: it doesn't matter where they are running or who they are running against, they're going to be among the best. Saturday morning against all Division I competition, with the exception of Cal State Bakersfield in the women's field, at the Fresno State Cross Country Invitational that was again the case.

The Chico State men finished second in a seven-team field. Only Division I Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which finished 14th in the nation last season, bested the Wildcats. The Chico State women also finished second. Only Division I UC Santa Barbara, which finished 29th in the nation last season, finished ahead of Chico State.

Mary Biggs paced the Chico State women by finishing first among attached runners. She finished one second behind unattached racer Kara June in the race to the finish, and 15 seconds ahead of the next competitor. She ran the five-kilometer course in 17:57.

The Wildcats' Jennifer James finished eighth, Kelly Ortlieb and Ciara Harvey finished 11th and 12th, respectively, and Paige Osborn grabbed 24th place. Laura Cohen and Sarah Montez, who finished 30th and 33rd, rounded out Chico's scorers.

For the men, veteran Patrick Boivin led the way with his 3rd-place finish. He covered the eight-kilometer course in 25:22. Scott Bauhs, a Chico State freshman, who was running unattached because he may redshirt, finished fifth overall. Chris Eggers grabbed ninth place, still only 16 seconds behind the winner, while Antonio Miramontes, Steven Springhorn, and Chris Layman crossed the finish line in 12th, 13th, and 14th place, respectively. Shea Rollin finished 22nd and Kyle Ivie 24th to finish out Chico State's scoring. Beau Bettinger finished 25th.

Overall Team Scores (Top-five teams)
Team and Points
1. Cal Poly SLO 28
2. Chico State 47
3. UC Santa Barbara 55
4. UC Berkeley 137
5. UC Santa Clara 153

Team and Points
1. UC Santa Barbara 20
2. Chico State 52
3. Cal Poly SLO 77
4. San Jose State 99
5. UC Berkeley 144

Chico State Individual Results
MEN–3. Patrick Boivin, 25:22; 5. Scott Bauhs, 25:25; 9. Chris Eggers, 25:29; 12. Antonio Miramontes, 25:34; 13. Steven Springhorn, 25:36; 14. Chris Layman, 25:37; 22. Shea Rollin, 26:07; 24. Kyli Ivie, 26:16; 25. Beau Bettinger, 26:17; 32. Ernesto Hernandez, 26:39; 37. Nick Clinton, 27:03; 42. Joel Martinez, 27:20; 51. Dustin Fee, 27:34; 59. Tim Tollefson, 28:08.

WOMEN– 2. Mary Biggs, 17:57; 8. Jennifer James, 18:13; 11. Kelly Ortlieb, 18:20; 12. Ciara Harvey, 18:24; 24. Paige Osborn, 18:47; 30. Laura Cohen, 18:51; 33. Sarah Montez, 18:59; 41. Dallase Scott, 19:12; 43. Hilery Oppido, 19:18; 44. Krista Roessler, 19:19; 58. Aisha Kamala, 19:37; 76. Kellie Stephens, 20:15; 78. Nancy Cavaletto, 20:27; 97. Katie Enfield, 21:59.

Wildcat squads highly regarded entering season
Having brought home the hardware last season with fourth-place team finishes at the Division II National Cross Country Championships, the Chico State men's and women's cross country teams have great expectations in 2004. Those expectations aren't just coming from their coaches, however. They're coming from the pollsters too. In the NCAA Division II preasons rankings, the Chico State men are ranked No. 3 in the nation, while the women are ranked No. 4.

On the both sides, the usual suspects, Adams State and Western State are the top two teams, respectively. Nevertheless, the Wildcat men return a solid group that includes 2003 All-Americans Pat Boivin, Chris Eggers, and Joel Martinez, track Al-Americans Charlie Serrano and Steven Springhorn. With that leadership, they hope to challenge for a national title.

The Chico State women are ranked behind Adams State, Western State, and Grand Valley State. The women return track All-American Jennifer James, Laura Cohen, '03 All-American Kelly Ortlieb, Sarah Montez (All region ’03), Paige Osborn (All-CCAA and All-Region ’00), and Dallase Scott. With the addition of some solid recruits, the Wildcats are looking forward to 2004 even though arguably their finest two distance runners of all time – Katie Lee and Missy Lendl – will both redshirt this year.

Chico State opens its season this Saturday at the Fresno Invitational which will feature Cal Poly SLO (men were 14th @ DI NCAA championships last fall), UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkley, Fresno State, and Santa Clara University.

Men Women
1. Adams State (CO) 1. Adams State (CO)
2. Western State (CO) 2. Western State (CO)
3. California State - Chico 3. Grand Valley State (MI)
4. Harding (AR) 4. California State - Chico
5. Abilene Christian (TX) 5. Harding (AR)
6. Univ of Mass. - Lowell 6. Northern Michigan
7. Univ of Minn - Duluth 7. Stonehill (MA)
8. Grand Valley State (MI) 8. Colorado School of Mines
9. Univ of Minn - Mankata 9. Kennesaw State (GA)
10. Kennesaw State (GA) 10. Edinboro (PA)

Wildcats well stocked for 2004 season
2004 promises to be another exciting season for the Chico State cross country program, as both the men's and women's squads prepare to improve on last year's impressive accomplishments.

In 2003 the 'Cats combined for two conference titles, two regional titles, and two fourth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. Returning a host of proven talent, along with the addition of some amazing recruits, the ’Cats will be tough to slow down in 2004.

With a total of 10 returning athletes who’ve earned All-American status in either track and/or cross country, the Wildcats will continue their quest for one of the top spots among the NCAA’s finest. The men carry a five-year string of top-10 NCAA finishes to the table this fall, while the women’s squad has finished in the top five the last two seasons. Both squads will face tough opponents from Colorado schools Adams and Western State, but the ’Cats enter the season undaunted and ready to take on all competition.

The men’s squad has three cross country All-Americans spearheading the attack from the front: Pat Boivin, who earned the honor in 2002 and 2003, Joel Martinez (2003), and Chris Eggers (2002). Fresh off his All-American track campaign, sophomore Charlie Serrano should also be a consistent scorer for the Wildcats.

“The men were happy with last year’s fourth-place finish, but this year our goal is to be in the top three,” said Head Coach Gary Towne. “With our depth we have a great chance to be among the top in the nation. Our big factor is health. We need to keep Chris and Joel healthy, because to compete against the Colorado schools we not only need depth—we have to have some big runners up front.”

Every member of a solid recruiting class in 2003 redshirted last season, so Chico State fans should keep an eye on Kyle Ivie, Shea Rollin, and Miguel Uribe. Ivie was one of California’s best prep runners in 2002-03, recording a 15:33 5k PR at the California state meet, and a 4:13 PR for 1600m on the track. Uribe and Rollin both came to Chico with sub-16 minute cross country credentials and 3,200 meter PRs of 9:15 and 9:24, respectively.

Add to this impressive list of returning athletes a standout 2004 recruiting class, which includes freshman Scott Bauhs, who finished as the runner-up in the state meet with a 3,200 meter time of 9:09, freshman Angel Marquez, who holds a 3,200 meter PR of 9:12, and junior Aaron Torres, who was sixth at the community college cross country state championships, and you have the making of a top-notch NCAA squad.

The 2004 women’s team returns a host of talented runners along with the addition of a few accomplished recruits. The Wildcats enter the new year having won the past two CCAA team titles, and the 2003 West Region title. The squad highlighted last season with a fourth-place finish at the national championship, improving on 2003’s fifth-place result.

The depth of the women’s squad was further illustrated by marks posted in the 2004 track season. Every school record from 800 meters to 10,000 meters, with the exception of the 3,000 meters, was broken. No fewer than nine women ran 18:23 or faster in 5,000 meter races, making the Wildcat women’s distance program one of the deepest in the state, regardless of division.

Despite plans to have returning All-American runners Katie Lee and Missy Lendl red shirt this season, the ’Cats are favored to finish high in conference, regional, and national competitions. Returning All-Americans Kelly Ortlieb and Jennifer James have the experience and talent to take over the top spots in the Wildcat attack. NCAA track and field qualifier and returning All-Region competitor Sarah Montez will be counted on to make an impact for the women’s squad, as well.

“The women’s program has a lot to prove this year,” said Towne. “I’d like to see us somewhere in the 5-7 range at the national championship. A lot will depend on how the others accept the challenge of now being the top runners. Katie and Missy made a conscious decision to redshirt this season. They both know that next year they’ll be a year better.”

Junior college transfer Mary Biggs could have an immediate impact given her background at Ventura Community College. Biggs placed 11th overall at the highly competitive Southern California Finals, notching an impressive 18:48 personal best. Two other true freshmen, Krista Roessler and Megan Williams, will benefit greatly from training with the experienced and successful Wildcat team.