PASADENA, Calif. (June 30, 2016) – The Caltech men's cross country and track & field programs add 11 newcomers, including nine distance runners, one thrower and one sprinter heading into the 2016-17 seasons.
The class consists of:
Tommy Alford (Dublin, Ohio / Dublin Coffman)
Sam Blazes (Bethesda, Md. / Sidwell Friends)
Jesse Cai (McLean, Va. / Thomas Jefferson)
Bhairav Chidambaram (San Diego, Calif. / Canyon Crest)
David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep)
Greg Gephart (Reno, Nev. / McQueen)
Timofey Krasnoperov (Pasadena, Calif. / Polytechnic)
Tanner Moore (Rosemont, Calif. / Oakmont)
Nikhil Poole (Arcadia, Calif. / Flintridge Preparatory)
Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago)
Gianmarco Terrones (McLean, Va. / Potomac School)
"The quality and depth of the men's cross country class is all I could hope for and more," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "I'm eager for each of them to join us on campus and to get the opportunity to work together. The sky really is the limit for this group – there's no telling what they'll be able to accomplish by the end of their time here."
Dublin, Ohio / Dublin Coffman H.S.
5k XC: 16:07
A National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and 2014-15 Cross Country Academic All-Ohio honoree, Alford ran the second leg on the indoor national champion 4x800 relay team. During that race, Alford also ran his personal record of 1:56.15 in the 800-meter run, which would already place him seventh in Caltech program history.
Bethesda, Md. / Sidwell Friends School
During his time at Sidwell Friends School, Blazes earned eight varsity letters. He is a District of Columbia-State honoree for cross country as well as a two-time competitor at the D.C. Track & Field State Championships.
"A talented runner in his own right, Sam joins his high school rival Gianmarco [Terrones] in a Caltech uniform," Raphelson said. "He will have the opportunity to make a huge impact for us."
McLean, Va. / Thomas Jefferson H.S. for Science and Technology
Cai injects some impressive sprinting ability into the track & field program. His personal best of 52.35 over 400 meters is just 3.71 seconds off of the Caltech record. Cai was named a regional finalist in the 15th Siemens Competition in Math, Science, & Technology.
"Jesse has it in him to be a great collegiate sprinter," Raphelson said. "With his attitude and work ethic, he makes us better immediately."
San Diego, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.
Chidambaram is a two-time competitor at the CIF-San Diego Section Cross Country Championships. He also earned a bronze medal as a 2015 U.S. Physics Olympiad semifinalist.
"Bhairav is eager to continue the improvements he experienced late in his high school career and join our deep corps of freshmen," Raphelson said. "I'm excited to see his progress."
Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep
5k XC: 18:08
Fager arrives from Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami, Fla., where he ran cross country. He will compete in both cross country and track & field as a Beaver.
"David is incredibly eager to join our teams at Caltech," Raphelson said. "With his attitude, I'm confident he will improve a lot in college."
Reno, Nev. / The Davidson Academy of Nevada (McQueen H.S.)
5k XC: 15:22
*run at altitude
A three-time competitor at the state level in cross country for The Davidson Academy of Nevada, Gephart claimed fourth place overall to help his team win the Division I boys title at the 2015 NIAA Nevada State Cross Country Championships. He repeated his fourth-place finish in the 3200m along with a sixth place in the 1600m in 2016.
"Greg is the embodiment of what we look for in a Caltech student-athlete," Raphelson said. "I'm confident he will thrive here and be a welcome addition to the squad."
Pasadena, Calif. / Polytechnic School
Discus Throw: 178'3"/54.33m
Shot Put: 45'1"/13.74m
A Pasadena native, Krasnoperov will cross Wilson Ave. permanently after competing at CIF Prelims for all three years he participated in track & field. Having broken his school's previous discus record by 60 feet, he placed third and second at the section finals in his junior and senior years, respectively, and claimed titles at the 2016 Prep League Finals in both shot put and discus.
"Tim is highly accomplished and a true student of the sport," Raphelson said. "We're tremendously excited about the ability and the passion that he brings to the team."
Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont H.S.
5k XC: 16:08
Moore is another well-rounded runner, showing strength in both the middle distance and distance events. He timed his first sub-two minute 800m at the Capital Valley Conference Finals and advanced to the CIF San-Joaquin Section finals in his senior year.
"Tanner is a very versatile runner who is eager to continue improving," Raphelson said. "He's excited to lend his effort and ability to the progress of our programs."
Arcadia, Calif. / Flintridge Preparatory School
5k XC: 15:58
Another local product staying close to home, Poole placed 11th at the CIF Division V State XC Championships, where he crossed the line with a personal best of 15:58.3 to help his team with the Division V state title. He also took third place at the CIF-SS Finals in the 3200m. Poole also was inducted into the Cum Laude Society, received a National Merit Scholarship and earned the Faculty Math Award for his class.
"Nikhil's coach praises his maturity and attention to detail, which already comes as no surprise," Raphelson said. "He's highly self-motivated and has tremendous potential."
Chicago, Ill. / The Latin School of Chicago
3 mile XC: 15:07
Ricci is a school record holder in both the 3200m and 1600m events. At the 2016 Illinois state meet, he placed fourth in the 1600m and eighth in the 3200m, both of which earned him All-State honors.
"Simon shares our passion for the future of Caltech Cross Country and Track & Field," Raphelson said. "He's going to be an important part of our programs for the next four years."
McLean, Va. / The Potomac School
5k XC: 16:27
Terrones was a member of The Potomac School's distance medley relay team which qualified for New Balance Outdoor Nationals as a junior and placed seventh at the Virginia Division I State XC Championships in his senior year. In track & field, he placed fourth in the 1000m and sixth in the 800m at the indoor VISAA state meet. Terrones also was named a National Merit finalist and a semifinalist in the 2016 Intel Research Competition for his research on desalination.
"Gianmarco consistently competed at a high level in high school and we're fortunate to have him join us," Raphelson said.
This crew of distance men will reinvigorate a group of Beavers who contributed to the program's first-ever regional ranking in cross country last year, including rising sophomores Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) and Rohan Doshi (West Windsor, N.J. / West Windsor-Plainsboro North). On the sprinters' side, Cai will join the returning trio of Alex Bourzutschky (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair), Ben Calvin (Shawnee, Kan. / Shawnee Mission Northwest) and Teddy Hu (Qingdao, China / Qingdao No. 2), while Krasnoperov will take the reins in the throws to mitigate the loss of All-SCIAC graduated senior Morgan Hill (San Diego, Calif. / Wasatch Acad.).