March 16, 2014
Bronco Track Competes Well At Aggie Opener
The Santa Clara track teams sent a small group of runners to the Aggie Opener, hosted by UC Davis, and were met with successful results that they hope will serve as a good omen for the student-athletes as they translate into finals mode, which start on Monday.
"Pete and I were pleased with our results," said Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro. "There is still a lot of work to be done on the season, but we are on pace or ahead of where we want to be in regards to the team's collective fitness and race experience."
The men's 1500 meter event was full of drama, with a slow first lap (65) bunching the pack together at the front. The slow lap got the field moving, and freshman Joey Berriatua matched the move and settled into third place for the next 700 meters. Approaching the bell lap, the race was coming down to three student-athletes at the finish, with still Berriatua in the mix. Close to the home stretch, Berriatua moved into second, but his late surge was a little too late to match the moves by front-runner, Jordan Rushing, of host school UC Davis. Berraitua's time was a personal best for the metric mile, running the three and three quarter lap event in 3:54.85.
"Joey ran great yet again, which is not a surprise," said Montoro. "He is a special athlete who is just scratching the surface of his potential."
Freshman Kaitlin Kuehn used an aggressive move to take the lead of her race with 500 meters remaining, but was ultimately unable to hold off a big move from post-collegian Rosie Smith. Keuhn maintained her lead until 100 meters to go, and finished second in a career-best of 4:53.66 over 1,500 meters.
"Kaitlin had an excellent performance," said Montoro. "She made all the right moves to give herself the best chance at winning her heat and it resulted in a new personal best."
Sophomore Adrian Hinojosa, who got trapped near the back of the pack during the opening quarter, rallied in the race with 700 meters to go, and ultimately finished fifth in a season-best 3:56.50.
"Adrian stepped down from his 5k training today and opened up with his best time from last season in the 1500m," said Montoro. "Tactically he learned some things today and is primed for an outstanding season."
Junior Audrey Hiatt competed in the off-distance 2,000 meter steeple chase, tying her career best of 7:24.38. Her effort was good enough for sixth place.
Senior Kayla Germany fell back early, but clawed her way back into the mix with the help of sophomore Elsa Valenzuela. Germany ultimately placed fifth in 5:04.94. Valenzuela finished sixth in 5:05.04.
"Kayla competed really well considering the training she has missed, and Elsa fought really hard, which I think helped Kayla work her way back up on the bell lap" said Montoro.
The Broncos will highlight the end of their finals week by competing at the Johnny Mathis Invitational hosted by San Francisco State on Sat., March 22nd.
"We are looking forward to the next three weeks of training and racing!"