PASADENA, Calif. (Mar. 6, 2015) – With a chance to qualify for the Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in sight, junior Aditya Bhagavathi (West Windsor, N.J. / West Windsor-Plainsboro North) flew across the country to the Tufts Last Chance Invitational on Friday afternoon.
The cross country NCAA qualifier blew out his heat in the 5000-meter run, finishing within 10 seconds of the current qualifying time (14:39) with the 25th-best mark in the country this winter. He chopped a whopping 50 seconds off his previous best time to beat out six other competitors also vying for a qualifying berth.
"This was a great growth experience, both for Aditya and the program as a whole," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "He overcome some doubt mid-race due to the fast pace and competition, letting the leaders open up a gap, but roared back to take the win with a stellar time."
Bhagavathi hung with the leaders through the first half of the race before falling a bit off the pace as the rest of the field kicked into gear, but began to reel them in over the next mile and surged to the front of the pack over the final three laps on the 200-meter track to record the fastest 5k time in program history at 14:48.94.
"As a program, we aspire to greater competitive success and this was a step toward that in terms of opportunity and achievement," Raphelson said. "It shows that Caltech student-athletes can perform at a high level against top Division III competition."
Raphelson and the Beavers will continue the outdoor season with their first SCIAC Multi-Dual of the spring on Saturday, Mar. 7 at the University of La Verne, where they will face Cal Lutheran University, Chapman University, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges and the host Leopards.