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District 8 Cross-Country : UCI Men Make Nationals; Women 4th

November 16, 1986

The UC Irvine men's cross-country team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time since joining Division I in 1977 by finishing third in the District 8 championships Saturday at Fresno's Woodward Park.

Irvine finished with 90 points. Arizona won the meet with 58 points and Oregon (67) was second. Washington finished fourth with 94.

"Unbelievable," UC Irvine Coach Vince O'Boyle said in a prepared statement. "Making the final 22 in the nation is not bad. It was great to get that third spot, but doing it by four points is cutting it close."

Irvine's women's team wasn't as fortunate, finishing fourth with 87 points. UCLA (69) finished first, Stanford (72) second and Oregon (80) third. The Irvine women must wait until Tuesday to find out if they will receive an at-large berth.

"We are a better team than some other teams from other districts that will go to the nationals," O'Boyle said.

Aaron Ramirez of Arizona won the men's individual title, finishing the 10,000-meter course in 30:21. Irvine's highest finisher was Richard Graves (30:35) in eighth. Ralph Garibaldi (31:01) finished 15th and Rod Curry (31:12) finished 21st.

"Richard really came through and ran a great race," O'Boyle said. "Now that we have made the nationals, the guys will really get up for it."

The nationals are Nov. 24 in Tucson, Ariz.

Oregon's Penny Graves won the women's individual title, finishing the 5,000-meter course in 16:49. UCLA's Polly Plumer, from University High School, finished second (16:44). Jill Harrington (16:57) was Irvine's highest finisher in sixth place, and will go to the NCAA meet as an individual if UCI does not receive an at-large berth.

"I am glad for Jill," O'Boyle said. "She is the first UCI runner to qualify for the nationals as an individual."

UCLA's Kathy Kiernan, from Los Amigos High School, finished eighth in 17:09.

Irvine freshman Buffy Rabbitt, the Anteaters' No. 5 runner who ran for Newport Harbor, finished 15th in 17:18 and teammate Beth McGrann finished 16th in 17:20.

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