April 23, 2001
Bronco Express The most comprehensive coverage of Santa Clara University Cross Country
Long Beach Invite
The Broncos ventured south through a huge downpour to arrive in Southern California for the Long Beach Invite. The team arrived in rain, which eventually gave way to sunshine and ideal conditions for the 1500 meter runners who produced PR's. The 5000 meter group saw Milena Basile with the most impressive time of the day.
Jenny Smokey was the only Bronco in the opening heat of the 1500. Jenny ran quickly in leading out a trail pack of runners. She covered her opening 800 in 2:34 and fought fatigue the rest of the way. This was 11 seconds faster than her split two weeks prior. She fought the rest of the way without her legs keeping contact the pack she led for half the race. With the fast start, she carried home a 5 second PR in breaking 5 minutes for the first time. In the second heat, Katie Malinak and Kristen Love keyed on each other. They pushed their first 400 and came down 10 seconds in their second 400. They maintained pace with Katie edging in front of Kristen and Katie pulling out a kick to pass two athletes in the final 100. Ashley Weger was flying at the start and also came back in the second 400. She fought hard to the end and came across equaling her PR.
Michael Wall was the lone Bronco entered in the 1500. Entered in the second heat, Michael sped out to a 65 opening 400 following the string of the lead pack. He kept up his goal pace in the second 400, and followed with a strong finish. He was able to chase down two others over the last half and carried his momentum to a sub 4:20 PR. Kristen Love came back later in the afternoon to run the 800. She ran aggressively in hitting back to back 37's for her first two 200's. She hung her spot in the field despite slowing and came across with a strong effort.
The women toed the line for the 5000 meters. Annie Gastelum ran strongly and had company to challenge and push her to the end. The magic of her first 5000 two weeks earlier was missing as she struggled to match those splits. She finished well, and surprisingly close to a hard charging Milena Basile. Milena pushed very well over the last 2000 meters in pulling in fading runners. She came from a similar pace over the first 3000 meters in her last race. But dropped 12 seconds from her time in that race which came from the last half of the race. Erin Skourtes made her collegiate track debut. She paced with Milena over the first 2000 before crashing. She was on pace to hit sub 20, but slipped back over each of the last two kilometers to narrowly miss breaking the 20 minute barrier.
Nine Mission Harriers made a big impression on the field for the men's race. Thomas Chapman held the lead for the Broncos. He and Mike Helms were in a pack trailing the top two runners over the first 2000 meters. Ben Gauen and Ricky Brackett were slightly off the pace of their top two teammates. Chris Spicer and Dominic Ricci were holding pace together with Mike Richmond seconds behind at the mile. Toby Lopez and Mike Neumann ran hard early in crossing 5:30 at the mile. Toby began gapping Mike and held a big lead over his teammate. Then, Toby came crashing down after surging with 1000 meters to go and tying up badly with 500 meters left. Mike pounced on the chance to chase down the wounded Toby and caught him with 100 meters to go. Both battled side by side down the stretch with Mike finishing a stride up on Toby. Mike Richmond fell back in his pace in the second mile and could not stop the fade in the third mile. Chris Spicer and Dominic Ricci pushed each other to the final kilometer. Chris began a push to the end at 600 meters and dropped Dom. Chris's final push gave him a 23 second drop from his 5000 two weeks earlier. Dominic dropped back and finished four seconds slower from his last race. Ricky and Ben began pulling in fading runners from the trail pack. Ricky was holding a good pace before cramping in the last 800 and fading. Ben reeled in two host Long Beach 49ers and equaled his PR. Mike Helms fell back in the second mile and gained some momentum in pushing the last mile. He came upon Thomas in the last 800. Both stayed slightly ahead of Ben Gauen in last lap.
Michael Wall, 4:17.82
Michael Helms, 15:32.0
Thomas Chapman, 15:35.0
Ben Gauen, 15:38.0
Ricky Brackett, 16:04.0
Chris Spicer, 16:27.0
Dominic Ricci, 16:42.0
Mike Richmond, 17:37.0
Mike Neumann, 18:04.0
Toby Lopez, 18:04.0