Senior Jonathan Peterson finished his collegiate career in the top third of runners in the NCAA Division I championship race on Monday afternoon. His time of 30:34.5 was good for 71st place out of a competitive pool of 252 runners.
Peterson received an at-large bid to the meet after his 29:30 time and 10th place finish at the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 12th.
The meet was hosted by Indiana State at LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The first place finisher was freshman Lawi Lalang from the University of Arizona who completed the 10K course with a time of 28:44.1.
Peterson’s time was 25 seconds shy of his visit to the championship race last season. His previous 30:09.1 time and consequent 14th place finish earned All-American recognition for the Clovis, Calif. native in 2010. It was the first time that a runner in the UC Davis men’s cross country program had received the honor.
Despite a successful season in which he led the Aggies in nearly every meet, he was unable to surpass the success that he achieved in 2010 at the final meet of the year.
“There’s no room for error at the top and battling some health issues this weekend made it hard to put all the necessary pieces together for a repeat of 2010,” said Head Coach Drew Wartenburg. “Nonetheless, it’s always better to end a season and cross country career at nationals instead of watching from home.”
With the graduation of Peterson, UC Davis will enter the off-season with the challenge of finding new runners to lead the team in 2012. The Aggies hope that the success that the senior has brought to the program will provide a foundation to build upon in future years.
“[Peterson] has ended his season at the national meet two years in a row, an achievement that means a lot in terms of getting the UC Davis name out there,” Wartenburg said. “The challenge now is to move the next individuals, and a team, to that level.”
KAITLYN ZUFALL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.