Oct. 19, 2002
BELMONT, Calif. -- In the final tune-up before the West Coast Conference championships in two weeks, the Santa Clara University men's and women's cross country teams each had strong team and individual performances today at the annual Bronco Invitational at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course.
The Bronco men took the overall team title with 37 points, anchored by the second-place performance of senior Michael Helms and a solid sixth-place effort by freshman John Hinman. The Broncos finished 12 points ahead of second-place Fullerton State and 30 in front of third-place San Jose State.
SCU Graduate student Kim Bates earned the individual title to lead the Broncos to a second-place overall finish in the women's race with 71 points. The University of Nevada took the team title by placing four runners in the top 10 to earn 36 points overall. Fullerton State finished third with 80 points.
Both Bronco cross country teams finished ahead of San Jose State, earning two points each in the inaugural rivalry series between the two schools. Santa Clara won each of the five fall sports matchups to take an early 13-0 lead over the Spartans heading into the basketball season. The next meeting between the two schools is the Nov. 30 men's basketball game at the Leavey Center.
"Today was a very nice performance for our team," said second-year women's coach Tom Service. "We were able to get a dry run of the league championships coming up in two weeks on this course and we were able to earn points against San Jose State in the rivalry series. We competed well against some of our regional opponents, beating Fullerton for the second time this season and winning our second of three matchups against Fresno State. Today's outing, combined with our great outing at Willamette two weeks ago, should continue to provide our team the confidence to go out and perform well at the league championships."
"After recently overcoming a nagging foot injury, Kim (Bates) has continued to run well and today she was really focused. She is a mature competitor who realizes that this is championship season and she knows what it takes to be successful. She's been there and really has her game face on. That attitude certainly rubs off on the rest of our team and will be a major benefit in the final two meets."
Bates, a transfer from Arizona, covered the 5,000-meter course in a time of 17:44. She opened the race with a slight lead over eventual second and third place finishers Allegra Porter of Saint Mary's and Emma Gerrard of Nevada but took over right after the two-mile mark and finished with a comfortable :07 second victory. Junior Milena Basile finished 10th for the Broncos in a time of 18:53, while Robin Bell crossed the finish line in 12th place with a time of 18:57.
Helms led the Bronco men for the second time this season, finishing in second place in the 8,000-meter race in a time of 25:56. Hinman surpassed Helms' Bronco freshman course record with a time of 26:20 to finish in sixth-place finish overall. Senior Thomas Chapman, normally one of SCU's top two finishers, battled breathing difficulties to finish seventh overall in the race with a time of 26:22, while Benjamin Gauen also finished in the top-10, Dominic Ricci was 13th and Pat Green was 16th,
"We competed hard today, but we still know there is a lot of room for improvement," said men's coach John Maloney. "Most of our runners were close to their personal bests and are in better condition now than when the set those marks. So, I think we are right on track to continue to improve as we get ready for the WCC meet in two weeks, then the regional meet at Stanford.
"I was really pleased with the performance of freshman John Hinman. He beat Michael Helms' freshman record on this course and is competing hard for a position as a top three runner. Pat Green, another freshman, and Dominic Ricci also performed well today competing for the fifth spot, which is a tremendous factor in our team results, particularly as we look at league and regionals. We are developing quality depth at a relatively quick pace and that will pay dividends for our program as we look to move up the regional rankings."
Santa Clara is off next week in preparation for the WCC Championships scheduled for Nov. 2 at Crystal Springs.