Oct. 14, 2008
The 2008 Bronco Invitational, hosted by Santa Clara University on Sat., Oct. 18 at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, is the largest collegiate cross country meet this weekend on the West Coast with four races that will all be. It will feature 19 NCAA, 3 NAIA and three junior college schools competing in the four races. The 19 NCAA schools represent two Regions (West, Mountain) and six conferences (Big Sky, Big West, Mountain West, Pacific 10, Western Athletic and West Coast). Four states (California, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico) will also compose the field. And the Bronco Invitational is free!
The women's races, both 5Ks, feature an open which begins at 9 am and the women's invitational will be run at 9:45 am. The men's races, both 8Ks, feature the invitational at 10:30 am and the men's open at 11:15 am. All races will be run at Baylands Park.
"We are excited this year to put on the biggest Bronco Invitational we have ever hosted. That is a real tribute to our alumni and fans who have really supported this invitational throughout the years," said Bronco head coach Tom Service. "It's an exciting competition on the women's side because a couple of the teams we narrowly beat a couple weeks to win the title at Willamette (Boise State and Idaho) will be running here. It's a good chance for us to see where we stand against a number of teams that are at our level and better when we run at the NCAA West Region Championships. It's really a mini-preview of the NCAA West Region Championships."
"This race is extremely spectator-friendly. The athletes never get more than 400 meters away from the start/finish area so you can see almost all the race," said Bronco assistant coach Felipe Montoro.
"It's in a beautiful area - Baylands Park. It's going to be a gorgeous day, with it predicted to be 70 degrees - perfect racing weather. It's a very, very fast course," said Service. "Without moving much, maybe 50 yards, fans can see a close up of the race about 5-6 times during the competition. And Broncos fans don't have to travel very far either - there are a lot of pluses with this invitational. We are really excited to host the meet."
Santa Clara will have athletes in all four races and looks to compete for the women's invitational team title.
"The Nevada women will be the favorite in the invitational, but Santa Clara is hoping to finish close to the top as well so fans can look for a very competitive race from the Broncos," said Service. "There are several teams that will be competing for the title."
On the men's side for Santa Clara, Robbie Reid and Chris Gumbs will continue to lead the team.
"Our practices have gone really well the last two weeks for the men and the women," said Montoro. "We know the course extremely well. We are beginning our final cycle in preparing for the post-season so they should be a little more rested. We are looking for personal bests from both of our teams."
"The men have been running really fast," said Service. "We are well prepared for the WCC Championships in two weeks. This is a perfect lead up race at a perfect time of the season - the Bronco Invitational."
"This race is extremely spectator friendly. The athletes never get more than 400 meters away from the start/finish area so you can see almost all the race," said Montoro.
For the NCAA schools, Nevada is the highest ranked women's squad with a No. 10 ranking in the Mountain Region. New Mexico State is ranked No. 13 in the Mountain Region for women and is the only men's ranked team, also No. 13 in the Mountain Region. Stanford, who will send only unattached runners (redshirts), UC Berkeley and UC Davis are all regionally ranked for their men and women's teams. Westmont women are ranked No. 20 in the NAIA. All three junior college teams are ranked in Northern California. For the men, American River is No. 1, Modesto is No. 5 and Shasta is No. 12. For the women, Modesto is No. 2, American River is No. 5 and Shasta is No. 9.
For the men's teams, Long Beach State was the top team at the Stanford Invitational three weeks ago. In order of team times, Long Beach (26:04), Sacramento State (26:18), Santa Clara (26:34), Fresno State (26:34) and Pepperdine (27:04) all finished within one minute of each other. Based on their Willamette team times, Idaho (25:45) and Boise State (25:34) will be competitive for a top five finish.
For the women's teams, it will be very tightly contested race amongst seven teams. Based on Stanford team times, four teams were within 21 seconds of each other. Long Beach State (22:52), Pepperdine (22:58), Santa Clara (23:00), and Sacramento State (23:13) are virtually even. From Willamette, Santa Clara (18:27), Idaho (18:21), and Boise State (18:34) finished within 5 points of each other. Lastly, Nevada holding out its #2-4 runners and ran a team time of 18:26 at Hornet Jamboree with Santa Clara posting 18:21.
Individuals to watch:
Mario Mendoza (St.Mary's 24:35 at Sundodger), Sawyer Bosch (Boise State 24:41 at Willamette), Dominic Vogl (Sacramento State 25:09 at Stanford), Erik Garcia (Fresno State 25:12 at Stanford) and Robbie Reid (Santa Clara 25:48 at Pier Park).
Allix Lee-Painter (Idaho 17:30 at Willamette), Christa Avena (Nevada 17:54 at Hornet), Sarah Apgar (Long Beach State 21:52 at Stanford), Chelsea Wishard (Pepperdine 22:08 at Stanford), Veronica Vazquez (Santa Clara 18:00 at Hornet), Stephanie Wilson (Santa Clara 18:03 at Willamette) and Kristina Holtz (Sacramento State 17:49 at Hornet).
Additional information provided by Santa Clara alum John Maloney.