April 23, 2006

Bronco Track Capitalizes On Ideal Conditions

April 23, 2006

By Pete Cushman
Santa Clara Athletics

DAVIS, Calif. - The Santa Clara track teams capitalized on ideal spring conditions at the Woody Wilson Invitational at UC Davis Saturday.

Under the lights with near perfect distance race conditions, Sophomore Michael Delaurenti placed second overall in the 5,000 meter event, running 15:08.61. The race quickly divided into two distinct packs, and Delaurenti and fellow sophomore teammate Christen Gumbs sat in third and fourth overall in the middle of the front group.

As the race progressed the lead pack numbers dwindled to just four runners around the 1600 meter mark. Delaurenti broke for the lead through six laps after the pace slowed considerably. Eventual race winner Jeff Bruins sat back patiently before making a giant surge into the lead with less than four laps remaining. Delaurenti did his best to hang on, but was unable to close the gap to first.

Gumbs placed fifth overall with a time of 15:20.07. Sophomore Michael Hannon and freshman Daniel Smith sat patiently at the back of the chase pack in the early going of the race, but slowly moved through the field. Hannon, making his 5k debut, finished in ninth place at 15:34.92. Smith followed right behind in tenth, with a personal best 15:35.91.

"Collectively, this was one of our better distance performances we have in the last couple of years," said assistant coach Felipe Montoro. "Every Bronco in the race competed to the best of their ability on the day. While we still have a long way to go, it will be nice knowing we have five returning athletes who have all run under 5 minute pace for 5k."

Freshman Anna Wheatley continued to assault the school record books with her breakthrough 1500 meter race. Wheatley took advantage of the ideal conditions and a solid field of like competitors to take over seven seconds off her previous best. Running controlled and back in the race, Wheatley began a surge at 800 meters, and pulled in several athletes over the next quarter. Her new mark of 4:43.28 earned her fifth place overall.

Wheatley doubled back with a just as impressive performance in the 800 meter event. She narrowly missed her personal best, running 2:17.19. Her effort earned her sixth place overall.

"Anna definitely had the performances of the day for us," said Montoro. "She had a very solid double, and we are very pleased with her races."

Freshman Jay Cadwell narrowly missed dipping under the two minute mark for 800 meters in his second place heat effort. Cadwell darted out to lane two over the final stretch, passing the primary pack. He crossed the line in a personal best 2:00.01. Freshman Ben Snyder, one of Cadwell's final 50 meter victims, followed in fourth in the heat, running 2:01.16.

Freshman Whitney Porter paced the Broncos in the 5,000 meter race with a personal best of 18:17.06, placing fourth overall. Freshman Veronica Vazquez made her 12 and a half lap debut with a time of 18:33.46, good enough for tenth overall. Senior Kiley Strong ran in 16th place, at 18:50.43.

The Broncos return to action this Saturday at the San Francisco Invitational at Kezar Stadium this Saturday.