CHINO, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2018) – Junior Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) placed 13th in the men's race while freshman Gaurav Phanse (Fremont, Calif. / Dublin) placed 19th to take home All-SCIAC Second Team honors at Saturday's SCIAC Cross Country Championships. The pairing became the first pair of Caltech teammates to finish in the top-20 since the SCIAC expanded to nine teams. The meet's first 10 finishers traditionally earn the distinction of All-SCIAC First Team while the second team is reserved for finishers 11 through 20.
Ricci (26:50.30) and Phanse (27:00.40) emerged from a competitive field with all positions up for grabs after the third spot. Additionally, senior Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista), who finished 40th overall in his final SCIAC Championship race, received the Ray Adkinson award, given to the senior who best exemplifies the conference's high ideals during his association with SCIAC cross country. Choudhury's 27:57.60 allowed him to improve his place of finish by over 50 spots from last year's race to this year's. Additionally, both men's and women's teams improved upon last year's sixth-place team finishes with each team earning a fifth-place ranking in 2018. It is the highest place of finish since the SCIAC expansion, with both teams moving past Whittier College while also defeating three other SCIAC teams.
"Our entire top-seven men ran very solid," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "It's rare that everyone is ready to race well on the same day and that's a tribute to their training and focus. While almost everyone ran well, I'm not sure that anyone fulfilled their potential and I know they're eager to step up in two weeks at regionals."
Junior Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) ran third for the Beavers, finishing 31st with a 27:32, marking an eight-sport improvement from last year's race while coming nearly 30 seconds away from earning All-SCIAC Second Team honors for himself. Sophomore Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) ran fifth behind Choudhury with a 28:28.80 and sophomore Jacob Ressler (Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X Catholic) broke into the Caltech top-seven with a 29:04.80. Sophomore Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) rounded out the top-seven with a 29:09.90. Additionally, freshman Kellen Rodriguez (Fairmont, Minn. / Fairmont) earned himself a new PR (33:21.20).
On the women's side, sophomore Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) led Caltech as she did last year (25:15.50), but junior Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) had the breakout performance of the day, finishing second among Beavers with a career-best 25:37.10 to come in 37th among the 118-woman field. Saturday marked the first time in three years with the team that Reese finished second among her teammates and the 37th-place finish marked an improvement of 28 spots. Additionally, freshman Alex Bardon (Boston, Mass. / Winsor School) posted a career-best 25:58.70 and figures to be a big part of the future of the women's team moving forward.
"Skye ran the race of her life and Alex ran remarkably for a freshman in her first SCIAC meet," Raphelson said. "Those two stepped up beautifully when the team needed it."
Sophomore Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) finished five seconds ahead of Bardon, good for third among Caltech runners while sophomore Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) rounded out the top-five with a 26:32.20. Sophomore Sirisha Gudavalli (Boulder, Colo. / Fairview) followed Brodsky with a 28:46.10, and junior Nicole Feng (Bethany, Conn. / Amity Regional) rounded out the Beavers' top-seven, overcoming a lengthy injury layoff to run a 28:48.40.
Raphelson and the Beavers will now begin preparation for the NCAA West Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Walla Walla, Wash.