With split squads competing at the Cal State Stanislaus Twilight on May 13 in Turlock, Calif. and the West Coast Invitational on May 14 in Salem, Ore., the Bronco track team and coaches had a busy weekend.
A small group of runners ran in very windy conditions on Friday but still managed to perform well. In the last races of their Bronco careers, seniors Chris Mosier and Kazimir "Amanda" Brown came away with victories and seasonal bests. Victory was sweet as both athletes overcame past hamstring injuries to close out their careers on a high note.
Mosier won the men's 1500m event in 4:07.00 despite very strong winds on the back stretch.
Brown notched a win in the women's 100m dash recording a seasonal best of 12.31. Brown also placed second in the 200m crossing the line in 25.81, also a seasonal best.
The West Coast Invitational, co-hosted by Willamette University and the University of Portland, served as the unofficial WCC Championship for the track team. The top middle and long distance runners from LMU, USF, Gonzaga, Portland and Santa Clara competed together for the first time ever. "It was a really great environment and a great opportunity for us to have a meaningful competition against our conference rivals the same weekend as the rest of the conference championship meets," said Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro. "This meet had been discussed for years among the coaches in the conference, and it finally happened. It will be a permanent part of our schedule going forward."
The men's 3000m steeplechase was the first event for the Broncos in Oregon. Freshman Ben Demaree competed very well, placing fifth overall in 9:30.34.
The women's 1500m event provided some of the top competition in the country, and freshman Allie Sibole responded with a five-second personal best, a SCU freshman record and the No. 2 all time mark at SCU. LMU's multiple All-American Tara Erdman, the nation's No. 1 ranked runner at 10000m won the race over USF's nationally-ranked steeplechase runner and All-American Eva Krchova 4:20.40 to 4:21.57. Sibole placed 10th in 4:38.95, a vast improvement over her high school best of 4:56.71. "Allie is only getting started in her running career, and still has a lot of room for improvement. It was encouraging to see her mix it up with some very talented athletes and really go for it," said Montoro.
Senior Robbie Reid ran the second-best time of his career, crossing the line in a two-second seasonal best of 3:51.73 and just off his lifetime best and school record of 3:50.92 in the men's 1500m. Portland All-American Trevor Dunbar won the race in 3:44.47. "Robbie missed a lot of the winter training with an achilles problem, and I was very proud of his effort today - he ran very tough," said Montoro. "I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do next fall in his fifth year of eligibility for cross country."
Richard Zhu also competed very well for SCU in the men's 1500m. Zhu, a junior from Medford, Ore., finished in 3:55.48, a two-second personal best and the No. 2 time in SCU history.
Fifth-year senior Josh Hernandez also set a personal best in his last race as a Bronco. Hernandez, a San Jose native crossed the line in 3:57.81, good for fourth-all-time at Santa Clara. "Josh has been through a lot to get to this point in his career. He will be graduating this spring and I am very proud of his SCU career," added Montoro.
In the women's 5000m, senior Melissa Conlin ran a track 5k personal best of 18:38.39 to also end her track career on a high note. "Melissa really ran well. She gave it her best effort," said Montoro.
Freshman Moises Venegas was the top SCU finisher in the men's 5000m. Venegas was 17th in 15:13.42.
Freshman Luca Signore ran well in the men's 10000m event, running 31:39.61.
In the women's 10,000m, junior Nicole Giove narrowly missed Whitney Porter's ('09) school record of 37:14.77. The junior from Fountain Valley, Calif. ran a very strong and even split race to hit the tape in 37:18.28, No. 2 all time at SCU. "Nicole has improved a lot this season, she has emerged as a real team leader and a great example to the rest of the team of how to train very hard, but also smart," said Montoro.
With the 2011 track season in the books, the team will turn it's focus to rest and recovery before hitting the trails to prepare for the 2011 cross country season.