LOS ANGELES (May 2, 2015) – Junior Aditya Bhagavathi (West Windsor, N.J. / West Windsor-Plainsboro North) stunned the field coming from fifth place in the seeding to win the 5,000-meter run at the SCIAC Championships on Saturday.
The cross country NCAA qualifier and multiple program record holder went from never having scored at the meet in his first two years to topping the field and earning the maximum 10 points for his squad. He is the program's first conference champion since Alex Lapides in 2011 and its first runner to claim a title since Matt Kiesz in 2008.
Bhagavathi and Head Coach Ben Raphelson had laid out a plan heading into the race and the junior executed it perfectly as everything else fell into place. A slow pace saw Bhagavathi running just off the shoulder of the leaders right up to the final lap and a half, when he made his move along with top-seeded John Fowler of Pomona-Pitzer to surge to the front. The pair put some distance between themselves and the two leading CMS runners before Bhagavthi overtook Fowler for good with his usual strong late kick, then held off CMS's second-seeded Joshua Sealand as the sophomore charged furiously down the stretch to win by .55 of a second.
"Aditya has learned a lot from his races so far this season and he applied that knowledge to how he executed Saturday's race," Raphelson said. "It was a alot of fun to watch it all come together for him. It was a very exciting race against some very tough competition and is certainly a well-deserved achievement."
Seniors Eric Martin (The Woodlands, Texas / College Park) and Jared Forte (Lake Elsinore, Calif. / Elsinore) joined Bhagavathi as scorers in the 800-meter run and 3,000-meter steeplechase, respectively. Martin dropped .22 of a second in Friday's preliminaries to qualify fifth and shaved another .07 to place fourth in the finals, earning five points – the highest total of his career. In Friday's time final, Forte – running only his second career steeplechase – chopped off 18.5 seconds to clock a 9:50.21 (fourth-fastest in program history) and place seventh to earn two points. With the trio accumulating 17 combined points - the Beavers' highest total since 2008 - Caltech beat out Chapman University for eighth place at the Championships.
Senior Stephanie Reynolds (Tallahassee, Fla. / Lawton Chiles) enjoyed a brilliant 1,500-meter run of her own, dropping almost seven seconds to run the second-fastest time of her career (4:52.05) after dealing with several injuries to place ninth.
Senior Juan Adame (Sylmar, Calif. / Sylmar Math, Science and Tech.) cracked the all-time list in his first-ever 10,000-meter run, claiming the No. 4 spot with a 33:57. Junior Alex Anemogiannis (Atlanta, Ga. / Marist School) set a new personal best in the 5,000m by 12 seconds and junior Elliot Simon (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson) and freshman Christopher Haack (New York City, N.Y. / The Browning School) combined to shave 12 seconds off their previous bests in the 1,500m.
Several Beavers set personal and/or season bests in the field events as well. Senior Bridget Connor (Albuquerque, N.M. / Albuquerque Acad.) tied for the eighth-best mark in the pole vault but was slotted ninth on prior misses. She cleared a career-high mark of nine feet, seven inches in the pole vault, moving up from fifth on the all-time list to third, just five inches shy of the program record. Freshman Serena Delgadillo (Denton, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math and Science) just managed to surpass her previous distance in the hammer, reaching 92 feet, 11 inches, while senior Ben Grabowski (Lake Forest Park, Wash. / Inglemoor) added 12 feet to his previous season-best mark in the javelin, pulling within 17 feet of his program record of 169 feet, seven inches. Junior Morgan Hill (San Diego, Calif. / Wasatch Acad.) tossed the hammer a season-best 122 feet, six inches while sophomore Jordan Bonilla (Weston, Fla. / Cypress Bay) hurled the discus an additional 11 feet to reach a mark of 90 feet, four inches.
"Aditya's race certainly stands out, but there were tremendous performances across the board," Raphelson said. "Our teams put together a weekend of efforts that we can be proud of."