Oct. 17, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's and women's cross country teams competed well today in the Bronco Invitational at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, with the men taking fourth as a team and the women seventh, while two individual Bronco runners led the field in their respective race.
"This is our best finish ever at the Bronco Invitational by two individuals," said Bronco head coach Tom Service. "We had 100 people after our post-race bar-b-que with so many alums helping us in the shoot. It was really cool. Overall we were extremely happy with today," said Service. "We had the most teams and participants ever in the history of the race, the teams seemed to like the course, and the times were very fast. We felt it was a very successful day and this is sort of our keynote event with many parents and alumni in attendance. The most important competition is WCC and regionals, but from a Santa Clara family standpoint this is our event. It was tremendous."
The women were the first to run and were paced by junior Stephanie Wilson, who was the top collegiate woman to finish and was only defeated by Lauren Weaver (a graduate and former member of the Belmont University cross-country team). Wilson's time of 16:53 smashed her personal best time by more than a minute.
"I felt pretty good the whole race and tried to run really confident," said Wilson. "The first mile was run on tempo, the second I worked to keep up the pace and the third mile I tried not to slow down and stay ahead of the pack. I worked to finish really hard and gave it all I could. My goal today was to break 17 minutes and I knew I had to hit the first split at about 5:25, the second around 10:50 and then stay confident the rest of the way."
"Both Stephanie and Lauren Weaver broke the course record today by more than 10 seconds" said head coach Tom Service. "Stephanie ran right on our race plan and did everything she could out there. She led the race the entire way and then was passed with about 600 meters to go."
Freshman Mary Reynolds was the second Bronco to cross the line, finishing with a time of 17:56. "I was really excited for Mary," said Service. "She ran under 18 minutes today for the first time as a freshman and that was really exciting to see."
Santa Clara finished with 207 points. Winner New Mexico State had 49, second-place San Francisco had 89, and third-place Long Beach State had 104.
On the men's side, Robbie Reid won his first 8k race of the year, coming in one second ahead of Fresno State's Paul Zwama. Reid finished with a time of 24:32.
"We do workouts here all the time and we know the splits and mile marks, so today my focus was on competing and racing," said Reid. "Our biggest races are conference and regionals and those are tough courses where it's hard to keep a fast pace. Today I just wanted to get a feel for racing and not worry about time. I wish my time was a little faster that what it was, but it's a strategic race that just boiled down to competitiveness. It was good to win so I can't be too unhappy with today."
"We talked about not worrying about how fast his time was and actually he went out slower than we thought he would," said associate head coach Felipe Montoro. "He stayed controlled and relaxed, and we planned for him to not take the lead, hold on `til the end and bust for a finish, and he did just that."
Chris Sampson followed Reid in 19th place, 15th out of the collegians, and Santa Clara earned 132 points. Winner Long Beach State had 69 points, runner-up Fresno State had 72, and third-place Boise State had 126.
"I was very pleased with our guys," added Montoro. "It was our best race of the season by far and it's exactly what we were looking for heading into WCCs and regionals."
"We couldn't have been any better up front," said Service. "Stephanie was beat by national caliber runner who's not a collegian anymore, and Robbie beat a very strong men's field. The guys finished fourth which is much higher than we expected and the women, who finished seventh are very young and were still counting on a lot of freshman and I think they've done a good job stepping up."
The Broncos will compete in their final race before the WCC Championships, the Shoreline Open, in Mountain View, Calif. next Saturday, Oct. 24.