UC Irvine ran to easy victories Saturday in the men's and women's divisions of the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. cross-country championships at Irvine.
The Anteater men, ranked 10th in the nation, placed five runners in the first seven to win with 22 points. It was Irvine's third consecutive PCAA championship.
The UCI women, ranked 14th, also placed five in the top seven. They scored 20 points for their fifth conference championship in the five years the meet has been held.
"Both teams just ran a great race," said Vince O'Boyle, Irvine coach. "That group running helps us. We really work on it. It's nice to have good individuals, but when you have the depth we have, it helps."
Sophomore Buffy Rabbitt and senior Jill Harrington led Irvine in the women's 5,000-meter race. The two front-runners set the pace in the early stages, passing the one-mile mark together in 5 minutes 27 seconds, with Jenni Scott of Cal State Fullerton and Maureen Bradley of San Diego State a few steps behind.
By the two-mile mark, Rabbitt and Harrington maintained a 30-yard lead. With 300 yards to go, Rabbitt surged and won the race in 16:51. Harrington was second in 16:58, and Bradley was third in 17:06.
Irvine's Judy McLaughlin, who has been the team's seventh or eighth runner most of the season, finished fourth (17:07); Amy Dabul was sixth (17:15), and Lori Wilson was seventh (17:21).
San Diego State finished second with 79 points, and Fresno State was third with 91.
In the men's race, Irvine seniors Richard Graves and Gus Quinonez battled sophomore David Schumacher of Cal State Long Beach along much of the rain-soaked 10,000-meter course.
Graves, who finished third in last year's race, and Quinonez, who finished second, traded the lead with Schumacher several times in the first four miles. With two miles to go, Graves surged up a short hill, leaving Schumacher about 10 yards back, and Quinonez about 20.
Despite Schumacher's continual efforts to catch him, Graves continued to press the pace and won in 29:57. Schumacher finished second (30:06). Quinonez, bothered by a side stitch, finished eighth (30:39).
"I couldn't ask for more from my body," said Schumacher, who was 14th last year. "I just stuck on them and hoped for the best. After Richard broke away, I thought I could get him along the way. But he surged every time I got closer."
Irvine's Greg Houlgate finished third (30:19), sophomore Scott LaForce fifth (30:29), freshman Aaron Mascorro sixth (30:35) and Steve Imlay seventh (30:38).
Fresno State placed second with 63 points, and Cal State Long Beach, led by Schumacher and Patrick Green (fourth, 30:24), was third with 66.