Oct. 18, 2003
SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Santa Clara University cross country coaches John Maloney and Tom Service decided last summer to change the Broncos' schedule up a bit. After posting dominating championship team performances in today's Santa Clara Invitational, it appears the change in routine paid off.
The Bronco men finished all five of its top runners among the top 10 in the field en route to a 26-point effort in winning its team competition. The women, ranked 10th in the NCAA's West Region, enjoyed similar success, placing six of its seven top runners among the top 12 to take its team title with just 29 points overall.
San Francisco finished second in the men's race with 70 points, followed by San Diego, Saint Mary's and San Jose State. In the women's race, San Jose State was second with 52 points, followed by San Diego, San Francisco and Saint Mary's.
For years, Santa Clara has hosted the annual Bronco Invitational two weeks prior to the conference championships at Crystal Springs XC Course in Belmont.
This year, Maloney and Service moved the Bronco Invite to the first week of the season and created the inaugural Santa Clara Invitational, a second home meet designed to provide an optimum training opportunity for the teams prior to the league championships. Clearly, the schedule change paid off today as both teams dominated the competition, even without some of the top performers on the men's and women's side not entered.
Former Broncos Michael Helms and Thomas Chapman, both running unattached, took the top two places in the individual men's competition. Helms covered the five-mile course in a time of 25:27.5, while Chapman covered the course in 25:48.8. The top collegiate finisher was Santa Clara senior Ben Gauen, who was just eight seconds back at 25:56.6.
SCU sophomore John Hinman battled cramps and a minor leg injury to finish fifth with a time of 26:25.4, just one place ahead of freshman Taylor Graham's 26:27.1. Pat Green finished 10th and Chris Doerhoff rounded out the Bronco scoring effort, placing 10th overall. Bronco senior Ricky Brackett did not race in the event.
In the women's race, San Diego's Tiffany Marley took top honors with a 5k time of 17:54.1. Freshman Lauren Swigart led the Broncos with a second-place effort in a time of 18:15.6, less than two seconds ahead of junior Katie Hansen's 17:17.7. Last year's West Coast Conference champion Allegra Porter finished fourth in a time of 18:27.3, while SCU's Robin Bell was fifth with 18:30.4 Milena Basile (8th) and Cara Payne (11th) rounded out the Bronco scoring.
Bronco freshman standout Shannon Bell did not compete due to some tightness in her hip.
"This was a nice tune-up on a pretty flat course prior to our conference meet in a couple of weeks," said Service. "It is always good to compete against league opponents and local teams and I'm really pleased with the way our kids performed today. Katie Hansen had perhaps her best race ever as a collegian and I really like where our team is at this point in the season. Certainly, this wasn't the most demanding course in the world. But, with our training schedule it was just what the doctor ordered for our team right now."
Both teams will compete limited squads next week at the Shoreline Invitation in preparation for the WCC Championships on Nov. 1 at Crystal Springs.