Sept. 13, 2003
DAVIS, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's and women's cross country teams each took on some of last year's top NCAA Division II programs and a number of regional opponents and came away with solid performances at the Aggie Open hosted by UC Davis Saturday.
In hot and windy conditions on the UC Davis campus, the Bronco women placed six runners among the top 20 individuals to earn a tie for second-place in the overall standings and an outright second-place finish among Division I schools. Freshman Shannon Bell was the top finisher for the Broncos for the second-straight meet, taking third-place overall with a 5,000-meter time of 18:25.70.
On the men's side, the Broncos placed five runners among the top 10 to place third overall and second among Division I schools. Benjamin Gauen covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 26:58.50, which placed the Seattle, Wash. native in 25th-place overall and eighth among Division I runners.
Chico State, currently ranked fifth nationally in the NCAA Division II poll, earned team championship honors on the men's side with the minimum 15 points. UC Davis finished second with the Broncos taking third. San Jose State and Saint Mary's College took fourth and fifth places, respectively.
UC Davis, which finished 10th in last year's Division II national championships but moved into Division I this season, won the women's competition with 48 points, five ahead of Chico State and Santa Clara. Nevada and San Jose State finished behind the Broncos.
"The windy conditions really affected everyone today," said Santa Clara women's head coach Tom Service. "However, we all had to battle the elements and I thought our team really responded well. In training this week, we focused on narrowing the gap between each of our finishers. Today, I was pleased to see just :23 seconds between our second and sixth finishers."
Behind SCU's top finisher, Shannon Bell, in the women's race was fellow freshman Lauren Swigart, who covered the course in a time of 18:51.10 to finish eighth overall. Robin Bell finished 13th overall in 18:59.10. Milena Basile was 16th in 19:04.90, while Katie Hansen improved on her performance in the Bronco Invitational to finish 21st, just ahead of Blossom Marimpietri's 22nd place showing.
The Santa Clara men showed a blend of youth and experience among its top five runners with three sophomores and two seniors finishing in scoring position. Behind Gauen were John Hinman and Chris Doerhoff, who finished in 32nd and 33rd in times of 27:13.30 and 27:18.20, respectively. Ricky Brackett crossed in the line in 37th place overall with a time of 27:36.20, while Pat Green covered the course in a time of 27:37.80 for 39th place.
"I thought our lads really worked hard today and have made some great strides in the past two weeks," said veteran head coach John Maloney. "This meet came at a great time for us as we continue to develop our squad. We now have two weeks to continue training before we race at Stanford. I'm pleased with where we are right now and we just need to continue to see who is going to step up for us."
The Santa Clara men and women return to action Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Stanford Invitational. The meet is scheduled for an afternoon start at the Stanford Golf Course.