PASADENA (Sept. 29, 2018) – The Caltech men's and women's cross country teams competed amid great conditions and had a highly successful day at the Master's University Invitational on Saturday morning.
Junior Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) of the men's team became the second-fastest cross country runner in program history with a 25:43.30 to finish 19th in the Men's Collegiate Open. With Saturday's run, Ricci is now within nine seconds of the Caltech 8K record set by Aditya Bhgavathi in Nov. 2014. Freshman Gaurav Phanse (Fremont, Calif. / Dublin) also ran towards the front of the field, and his 25:57.70 was good for 27th out of a field consisting of 183 runners. Phanse improved his top college time by nearly 13 seconds as his career continues on a positive trajectory. The under-manned men's team also saw new PR's from junior David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) who dropped his top time from this season's Riverside meet by 32 seconds (27:35.80), sophomore Jacob Ressler (Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X Catholic) who dropped his top time by 15 seconds (28:49.20) and sophomore Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.), who cut his best time by more than five minutes (32:47.90). Collectively, the men's team defeated two of the three other SCIAC schools competing at the meet, including Whittier College and California Lutheran University.
At close to full-strength for the first time this season, the women's team also had a noteworthy day with Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) leading Caltech finishers in the Women's Collegiate Open with an 18:35.30 on the 5K course. Classmate Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) followed Hu with a 19:11.40 and freshman Alex Bardon (Boston, Mass. / Winsor School) rounded out the Beavers' top three with a 19:19.9 to establish herself as one of the Beavers' top female runners. Junior Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) (20:06.50) and sophomore Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) making her 2018 debut (20:13.40) rounded out Caltech's finishers. Like the men, the women's team managed to finish above Whittier and Cal Lutheran in the overall team standings and just two spots behind West region No. 5 Occidental College.
"I was pleased with how everyone competed," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "The times were nice to see but they were the by-product of some great competitive efforts across the board. It led to one of the best team finishes our women have ever recorded."
Raphelson and the Beavers will return on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invite.