Oct. 4, 2003
SALEM, Ore. - Shannon Bell continued the impressive start to her freshman season with a 13th place finish in the cool and cloudy conditions at the 29th annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational hosted by Willamette University at Bush Park this morning.
The Bronco women finished fifth overall in the team competition with 176 points, nine more than sixth-place Oregon and 17 ahead of the University of Iowa. Portland State, Cal State Northridge, Fullerton State and Hawai'i all finished behind Santa Clara. Marquette University won the women's team championship with a 50-point effort, two ahead of the University of Nevada. Portland finished third and UC Davis was fourth.
In the men's race, the Broncos finished 13th overall with 311 points with sophomore John Hinman posted Santa Clara's top finish with a 50th place effort. He covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 25:43.46. Marquette University was the top college team finisher at second place, while UC Davis took second and Fullerton State was third. The University of Portland narrowly edged Portland State for the fifth overall spot.
Bell, the younger sister of teammate Robin Bell, covered the 5,000-meter course in a career-best time of 17:35.11 to finish 13th overall and 10th in the team scoring competition. Her finish was just two places shy and her time was only four seconds slower than the best-ever for a Bronco runner at the meet. Last season, graduate student Kim Bates finished 11th overall in a time of 17:28.58 in the same meet for the best ever for a Santa Clara runner.
In addition to Bell, two other Bronco freshmen scored for the Santa Clara women's squad in the meet. Lauren Swigart finished 29th in a time of 17:57.97 and Blossom Marimpietri was 67th as she crossed the tape with an 18:45.03 clocking. Sandwiched in between were Robin Bell at 42nd in 18:24.10 and Katie Hansen was 56th in a time of 18:32.48. Hansen made a 22 second improvement over last year's effort, while Robin Bell's time was a minor improvement over her last season by over three seconds but her finish was five places lower.
Senior Ben Gauen finished just eight places behind Hinman in the men's race with a time of 25:54.92, while Ricky Brackett was 68th overall with a 26:10.22 clocking. John Paul Thyken, Chris Doerhoff, Taylor Graham and Michael Neumann finished with 11 places of each other in the competition for the team's number five spot. Thyken was 95th overall in 26:43.48. Doerhoff crossed the line in 26:47.48 for 98th place and Graham picked up the team's fifth slot with a 102nd place finish and a time of 26:51.80. Neumann finished 106th with a time of 26:59.19.
"I was pleased with our guys' performance at Willamette," said Head Coach John Maloney. "We were very competitive but came up on the short end with the teams directly in front of us. Our team time was a few seconds below the four teams in front of us and we ran our best race of the season, but we still have room to improve. We came apart in the last half mile with the guys unable to sustain their positions to the finish. We ran conservatively early and moved up in the field in the sixth and seventh kilometers, but couldn't hang on over the last kilometer. We gave back alot of places entering the track where the finish line is on the course.
"Ricky Brackett is coming around nicely with his best time relative to Ben and John's finishing times all year. John Paul Thyken also ran well rebounding from his difficult race at Stanford last week. We are looking forward to the next race at Baylands. Our next two weeks of training will provide the opportunity to work on improving our last three kilometers."
Santa Clara takes next weekend off before hosting the Santa Clara Invitational at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, Calif.