POMONA, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2017) – The Caltech men's and women's cross country teams saw personal best-times recorded up and down each lineup at Saturday's Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Optimal racing conditions and an early start time of 7:45 a.m. paved the way for a strong day for the men's team. The Beavers bested four SCIAC schools and were fronted once again by sophomore Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) who came in at 26:21.70 and topped his personal-best time by six seconds. Ricci's finish was good for 17th overall in a field consisting of schools inside and outside the SCIAC. Sophomore Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) trailed Ricci by 14 seconds (26:35.73) and came within one-fifth of a second of setting a personal best for himself. He finished 23rd in the field of 137 men.
Junior Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) took third on the team, clocking in at 27:33.75 to set another personal best. Freshmen Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) and Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) ran in tandem for much of the race and finished fourth and fifth on the team within four seconds of each other. Earney completed the track in 27:44.43 and Morgenfeld (27:40.86) achieved a personal best. Sophomore David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) finished sixth among Beavers and dropped his top time by nearly a minute (28:22.12). The biggest drop of the day came in the form of junior Michael Hashe's (Plano, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) performance. Hashe, who finished the 8K course in 30:26.09, topped his previous best time by nearly two minutes, summing up just how effective the men's team was on Saturday morning.
"Coming into today we were pleased with how our training had progressed and were optimistic about our ability to compete well," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "Just about everyone stepped up with their best race of the season so far. We're confident that we can build on this going forward."
The women's team saw an equally positive result in the team results, also beating out four other SCIAC schools. Freshman Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) took the top spot on the women's side for a second consecutive race and clocked in at 23:10.00, good for 13th overall in a field of 158 women. Fellow freshman Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) rebounded from the SCIAC Duals to finish second again for the Beavers and 30th overall (23:58.77). Freshman Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) finished third among Beavers and 63rd overall (24:57.10). Sophomore Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) finished the 6K course in 25:33.57, 30 seconds off a personal best set two weeks ago at La Mirada but finished fourth among Caltech runners for the first time in her career. Junior Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) ran close behind Reese and finished just four seconds off her sophomore counterpart.
The conditions warmed up for the women's race with temperatures in the low-80s. Comparatively, the women's team finished about as expected in the context of the women's field and Raphelson believes the women's side of the program has a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.
"We had some bad luck in a few cases in the women's race but the fact that others stepped up and helped deliver a strong team result really reflects well on this group," Raphelson said. "They're really motivated for the remainder of the season."
Raphelson and the Beavers will have two weeks to rest up and fine tune their form before competing at the SCIAC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28.