Women's team receives status for 11th year in a row
Sophomore one of 58 student-athletes from 36 schools
49er runners among eight athletes recoginized from the Big West
Senior becomes first 49er in program history to win league title
Men places third with two top-10 finishes.
Patrick Cunniff begins his sixth season as the head cross country/assistant track & field coach at Long Beach State. Cunniff's five years have been among the most successful in 49er history.
During his tenure at LBSU, Cunniff's cross country, indoor track and outdoor track athletes have combined to set 26 school records and occupy 87 positions on the 49er all-time top 10 lists.
The cross country teams have fared extremely well under Cunniff's tutelage, with both the men and women finishing among the top 15 at the NCAA West Regional since his first year at the helm of the program in 2007. The squads have also won seven meets and have collected 10 top-three individual finishes.
In 2011, Cunniff led the 49ers to one of the best seasons in school history. The women finished second in the Big West, while the men took third. Rosa Del Toro led the way as she became the first Long Beach State athlete to be named the Big West Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year after claiming the individual title at the conference championships with a 6K school-record 20:27. Michelle Thompson also garnered All-Big West honors with a fifth-place finish. In addition, Del Toro established LBSU's top 5K time of 17:09.8 at the Bronco Invitational.
On the men's side, Heath Reedy set a program record in the 8K, crossing the finish line in 23:47.2 to come in third at the Big West Championships. Matt Maldonado added a sixth-place showing for his second-consecutive all-conference award.
At the West Regional in Stanford, the 49er men posted their best team finish since 1988 as they were ninth overall. Heath Reedy (18th) and Rosa Del Toro (19th) both earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors for their top-25 finishes.
In 2010, the women and men placed third and fourth, respectively, at the Big West Championships. Three of Cunniff's athletes were all-conference performers, including Del Toro, Maldonado and Bret Hasvold.
Missy Barclay led the 49ers at the 2009 Big West Championships, earning all-conference accolades with an eighth-place finish. The women came in fourth, while the men took fifth. During the regular season, the men also won their third consecutive Bronco Invitational title.
During Cunniff's first year at Long Beach State, both the men and women beat their preseason rankings at the Big West and NCAA West Regional championship meets. Sarah Apgar earned all-conference honors with a sixth-place finish and had a top-30 showing at regionals.
Distance athletes have shone on the track as well in Cunniff's five years at LBSU, highlighted by 21 school record performances, nine all-conference performers, one conference champion, 13 NCAA Regional qualifiers and one NCAA indoor All-American.
Last year, Matt Maldonado won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in the indoor mile with a school-record 3:59.08. He was the first 49er in program history to run a sub-four mile and went on to earn second-team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships. During the outdoor season, Jessica Barnard was also the Big West champion in the 3000m steeplechase.
In 2011, the men's distance athletes contributed 13 points to help the squad to its third Big West title. Heath Reedy (5000m) and Rosa Del Toro (1500m) both earned all-conference recognition.
In Cunniff's first year as an assistant track coach at Long Beach State, Alex Freitas finished third in the 800m at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships, anchored the sprint medley relay team to a victory in the historic Drake Relays and finished sixth in the NCAA regional meet. Several athletes also contributed points to the 49er men's team title at the Big West Championships.
The 2009 indoor season was highlighted by Freitas (800m), Missy Barclay (mile), Carly Harris (3000m, twice) and the women's DMR all setting school records. LBSU carried that momentum into the outdoor season with five NCAA regional qualifiers, two school records and numerous all-time top 10 performances. Kristina Wilson (10000m), Carly Harris (3000m steeplechase and 5000m) and Alex Freitas (800m) earned All-Big West honors with their top three finishes at the Big West Conference Championships.
The 2010 season saw more of the same with Matt Maldonado's 4:03 mile shattering the previous record and Alex Freitas notching an NCAA provisional mark for the third year in a row during the indoor season. The outdoor campaign opened with a bang as Jennifer Rodriguez, Alisia Barajas and Annie Randall worked together at the Stanford Invitational to all best the previous school record in the 10000m. Maldonado continued his development by moving into second on LBSU's all-time list in the 1500m and finishing a close second at the Big West Championships. Freitas wrapped up one of the most decorated careers in Long Beach State history by again finishing in the top three at the conference championships and advancing to the second round at the NCAA West Regionals. All together, the 49er distance squad placed four athletes into the regional meet.
Cunniff's athletes have also excelled in the classroom and in the community. The women's cross country team has earned USTFCCCA National All-Academic recognition in each of Cunniff's five years at Long Beach State. Heath Reedy (2011), Matt Maldonado (2010) and Jennifer Rodriguez (2010) also earned individual national all-academic recognition from the USTFCCCA. In addition, Missy Barclay was selected to the 2009-10 CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District All-Academic Team.
Long Beach State cross country/track & field team members have participated in many community service events including dorm move-ins, Long Beach Marathon Water Stop and various projects at local schools.
Additionally, Cunniff is one of the race director's for the Pyramid 5K Run, held on the LBSU campus each fall, which is quickly becoming a major fundraiser and a cornerstone event of Homecoming Week.
Cunniff and his wife, Katie, reside in Long Beach.
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