First place has become a familiar spot for two Cal Poly cross country runners, Miranda Daschian and Jake Ritter, and the pair is the Big West's best once again.
On November 2 in Riverside, Daschian and Ritter defended their conference championship crowns, capturing their second straight Big West individual titles.
"It was really exciting just having this amazing group of girls around me and seeing my parents at the finish line," Daschian said. "It meant the world to me."
"This year, I wanted it really bad just to say that I was back-to-back Big West Conference champ," Ritter added. "It feels really good to have that title, for sure."
Daschian, an Atascadero High grad, finished the Big West Championship in a time of 20:20.70. It was a perfect conference ending for the senior.
"I mean, after winning last year, that was definitely one of the goals I wanted to check off my list. It's just really rewarding," Daschian explained.
As for Ritter, he couldn't have been any more dominant, pacing the field by more than 42 seconds and finishing the race in a speedy 23:43.70.
"I really didn't know it was that big of a lead until I finished," Ritter said with a laugh. "I looked back and didn't see anyone at all. It felt really good. You know, I wasn't expecting it. It was definitely something I really wanted."
On top of the conference championships, Daschian and Ritter were also named Big West Athletes of the Year for the second straight season. It's only the ninth time a male has been honored in consecutive years since 1979, and just the fourth for a female dating back to 1983.
"I've worked so hard coming up through Atascadero and Cuesta to get here," Daschian added. "Just knowing that I'm a part of a legacy, it's amazing."
"It means a lot more just in the words of the title. It means a lot," Ritter said.
And a cherry on top of it all, Ritter helped guide the Mustangs to their fourth straight Big West Conference men's team title, while Mark Conover was recognized as the Men's Coach of the Year for the 15th time since 2000.
"Consistency in sports is hard to achieve. It's a testimony of the work and belief of the individuals who are getting it accomplished," Conover said. "I think it says a lot about our student athletes and how much they desire to achieve excellence and achieve it at the highest level."
The Mustangs will now compete in the NCAA Regionals on Friday morning at Washington State University.