LA MIRADA, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2016) – The Caltech men's and women's cross country teams each recorded their most dual victories in over a decade at the SCIAC Multi-Duals in La Mirada Regional Park on Saturday morning.
Both squads rode their depth to post the program's best dual results since 2003 for the men and 2004 on the women's side. The men's team recorded decisive victories over Cal Lutheran University and Chapman University, as well as narrow wins vs. the University of La Verne (28-30) and the University of Redlands (27-30), with less than 45 seconds separating the total times of the Beavers and Leopards while not even 20 seconds separated Caltech and Redlands. The women's team, which was still missing a pair of likely scorers, topped both Cal Lutheran and La Verne while showing well on paper against Chapman and Whittier College.
"This performance by both teams was a validating sign that we're headed in the right direction," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "They're pretty hungry for more."
Freshman Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) again paced the men's side, placing 22nd overall and best among all rookies. Classmate Greg Gephart (Reno, Nev. / Robert McQueen) crossed second among Beavers and 35th overall, while freshman Gianmarco Terrones (McLean, Va. / The Potomac School) and sophomore Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) turned in phenomenal performances to lead the group that was key to both the La Verne and Redlands victories. On a course that ran more than a minute slower across the board than the Biola Invitational, Terrones bounced back from his illness-plagued race three weeks prior to drop over a minute, with Choudhury just two seconds behind to mark a 38-second improvement from his rookie Multi-Duals race. Freshmen Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) and Tommy Alford (Dublin, Ohio / Dublin Coffman) rounded out the core finishers for Caltech as the Beavers placed five and four runners, respectively, immediately ahead of both La Verne's and Redlands' fourth and fifth scorers to seal the wins.
"It was almost too close for comfort, but we got the job done today," Raphelson said.
Sophomore Michelle Marasigan (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / James B. Conant) posted a 43-second improvement while finishing third among the Beaver women, with freshman Sophie Walton (Emerald Hills, Calif. / Sequoia) placing 26th overall and sophomore Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) finishing 37th overall. Rookie Michelle Zhao (San Diego, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.) was right behind Marasigan in 75th place and senior Emily Mazo (Bala Cynwyd, Pa. / Harriton) rounded out the scorers for Caltech. Senior Lilly Luo (Belle Mead, N.J. / Montgomery) and junior Robin Brown (Potomac, Md. / Richard Montgomery) also turned in notable performances among returners, with both chopping off nearly a full minute from last year's times.
"Our women really ran consistently strong," Raphelson said. "We knew it would take a solid team performance with us missing a few key members due to injury and illness, and we got that today."
Raphelson and the Beavers compete at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Oct. 15 in their final tune-up before the SCIAC Championships on Oct. 29.