SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara track team, competing in one of its final meets of the regular season, took advantage of ideal San Francisco conditions to notch one new school record, add four new personal records, seven season bests, and two heat victories at the West Coast Last Chance Open hosted by University of San Francisco at Cox Stadium.
The highlight of the afternoon was freshman Joey Berriatua's school record performance in the men's 1500 meter race. The field, as competitive as any Berriatua has seen in his racing career, was set up to be fast and competitive. Splitting the first quarter in 60 seconds, Berriatua sat in third place, drafting off the quick pace, but in ideal position to run fast and give himself a chance at winning. With two other competitors battling it out for the lead for 1200 meters, Berriatua stayed off the lead in third, biding his time for the kick. The spread from first through 11th place remained tight through 1,100 meters, and it was anyone's race heading through the bell.
Kicking down the last 400 meters in 60 seconds, Berriatua was able to hang on to third place in the hotly contested race, finishing in 3 minutes 49.78 seconds. His time was over one second faster than the previous record held by Robbie Reid, set in 2010.
"This was another great example of Joey sticking his nose in a great race, and putting himself in the right position at the bell lap to give himself a chance to win," said Santa Clara head coach Felipe Montoro. "He has great race instinct, and he's the kind of athlete that has as good as a shot as any to win if he's within striking distance with 100 meters to go. While he didn't win this race, it was very competitive, and he gave himself a shot. Fortunately the big effort netted him his first sub 3:50 and a new school record."
Berriatua was in high spirits following his school record performance.
"I know it's Mother's Day this weekend, but I was thinking I would run over my own mother to try and win that race," said Berriatua with a smile on his face. "Fortunately my mother watches from the stands so it didn't come to that."
Junior Sean Roe took seventh place in the second section of the men's 1500.
Senior Ben Demaree climbed up to sixth on the all-time list in the 10,000 meter race, covering 6.2 miles in 31 minutes 0.13 seconds. Demaree took the lead early in the race, and made an effort to press ahead solo, splitting the 5k mark in 15 minutes 19 seconds, though the aggressive move cost him in the last 1200 meters, as eventual champion John Pickhaver reeled him in and never relented his lead from there.
Demaree's time was good enough for second place overall, and a 25 second improvement from his last attempt at 10k one month prior.
Sophomore Bryan Crook, running his second 5,000 meter race of the season, took advantage of a hot early pace, and was ultimately dragged to a personal best and now third best time in school history for 5k, in 14 minutes 42.47 seconds. His performance was good enough for seventh place. Sophomore teammates Adrian Hinojosa and Ryan Greenough finished 11th and 16th, respectfully. Greenough's time of 15 minutes 1.04 was his best at the 5k distance, notching him another second closer to the elusive 15 minute barrier.
Sibole came into the West Coast Last Chance Open with a modest season best of 4 minutes 52.75 seconds, a mark she shattered by an astounding 12 seconds in her seventh place race effort. She covered the metric mile in 4 minutes 40.88 seconds, capping off a very successful college career, which includes a previously set school record in the same event.
"Allie is a very gifted and hard working athlete, and it was great to see her hard work rewarded with a performance like she gave today," said Montoro. "She had a rough winter, missing a big chunk of training with an injury, but she stuck with it, and capped off a great career with two great races. We are very happy with her season and her career, and her leadership will be missed."
Freshman Kaitlyn Kuehn won section three of the 1,500 meter event, running away with the victory in 4 minutes 51.91 seconds. Kuehn settled into second through 800 meters, and ultimately made a big move with just over 400 meters remaining in the race. She gapped the field over the next 200 meters, and had the victory all but sealed up as she kicked it in down the home stretch.
Senior teammate Kayla Germany managed to move from third to second in the same heat in the last 50 meters, completing the 1-2 Bronco punch in the section.
Sophomore Mary Kriege finished sixth overall in the women's 5,000 meter race, running the 12.5 lap race in 17 minutes 22.26 seconds. She got out quick, in an effort to make a run at sub 17 minutes, clocking the first mile in 5 minutes 24 seconds, but she ultimately ended up between packs, and fell off pace over the last six laps.
"Mary has been a little stuck around 17:20, but she's due for a big breakthrough," said Montoro. "She's been looking great in practice over the last few weeks, and she's ready to put it all together in a race by next Thursday in Willamette."
Junior Kelly Ryan finished 12th overall in 18 minutes 4.10 seconds.
The Broncos will conclude the regular season this upcoming Thursday at the West Coast Invite at Willamette University. Santa Clara will be sending a small contingent of athletes giving themselves one more shot at hitting marks to qualify for the National Championships and improve on current personal bests and school records.