March 14, 2006

Thinclads Compete In Second Meet of the Season

March 13, 2006

By Pete Cushman
Santa Clara Athletics

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Rain, hail, and records fell for the Bronco track team, performing as a split squad during the second week of competition in the outdoor season.

A small contingent of athletes made a trip down to the Benny Brown Invitational hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The highly competitive meet is held at the storied Mt. San Antonio College track and field facility. Two new school records in the 800 meters highlighted the trip to the Southland.

Despite temperatures in the low 40's and intermittent rain and hail, freshman Anna Wheatley improved on her own school record set just one week ago, lowering it to 2:19.16. Her time was good enough for 7th overall in the large field. Running just after Wheatley was Chris Furnari, who completed the 2 lap race in 1:55.92, good for a school record and personal best. His time placed him fourth overall.

"I am very proud of both Anna and Chris," said Assistant coach Felipe Montoro. "Both stuck their nose in it and ran tough in a great early season competitive atmosphere."

Junior Shannon Bell and Senior Kiley Strong competed under the lights in the top flight of the 5,000 meter event. Bell, battling with severe poison oak, covered the 12 and a half lap event in a season best 18:14.32. Strong chopped off 25 seconds from her previous best, covering 5,000 meters in 18:33.80.

The men's 5k saw two of the 3 Broncos entered come away with personal bests. Sophomore Chris Gumbs knocked off 40 seconds from his previous best, running 15:18.69 in his fifth place finish for his heat. Fellow sophomore Mike Delaurenti ran 15:27.81 for 13th place. In the same race, Freshman Danny Smith covered the 5000 meter race in a personal best of 15:41.70, for 20th place.

The remaining Bronco athletes attended the Aggie Invitational hosted by UC Davis.

Freshman Noelle Lopez made her collegiate outdoor debut with a 5th place finish in the 3,000-meter event. Lopez covered the 7 and a half laps in 10:32.31.

"Noelle ran a very smart race," said Head Coach Tom Service. "She went out with control, and reeled in several competitors over the last half of the race."

Freshman Whitney Porter, junior Blossom Marimpietri, and junior Lauren Swigart also competed in the 3k event. Porter and Marimpietri worked together over the course of the race, running season best times of 10:51.05 and 10:53.00 respectively.

Freshman Veronica Vazquez made her track season debut in the metric mile, placing 8th overall with a time of 4:57.47.

Sophomore Andrew Blumel chipped two seconds off his previous best in the 5,000-meter event with a 15:50.93. His time was good enough for 10th place overall. Junior Omar Ahmad also ran a personal best over 5k with a 16:21.50.

"We are very excited with the steady progress our young track program is making," said Service. "I'm very confident that we will continue to see marks fall over the course of the season from both our men and women."

The Broncos resume competition March 25th at the Hornet Invitational hosted by Sacramento State.