SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University track team concluded the regular season in fashion, adding three new improved marks to the all-time lists and adding three new personal records to some individual student-athlete resumes at the West Coast Invitational hosted by the University of Portland at Charles Bowles Track Complex in Salem, Ore.
The Broncos sent a small contingent of athletes to compete in the 5,000 meter event at the West Coast Invitational with three goals in mind: new school records, improved marks on the track all-time list, and personal records all around. The trip proved worthwhile.
The night kicked off under the lights and ideal conditions, and sophomore Mary Kriege took advantage of the competitive field and windless evening to notch six seconds off her previous best, putting her third all-time in SCU track history over the 12.5 lap event. With post-collegiate professional Alexi Pappas of the Oregon track club in the field, it was expected to go out quick. The field spent no time waiting to get after it, opening up the first quarter at five flat pace, Pappas kept her foot on the gas cruising through the first mile in 5 minutes 8 seconds. The chase pack followed closely behind, though Kriege bided her time behind the chase pack.
"Mary is more a pure 10k runner, and while she can redline for extended periods of time, her strength comes late in the race if it goes out quickly," said Santa Clara head coach Felipe Montoro. "She struggled to hang on to the pace early on, but she's a fighter, and never lost site of the chase pack," he added.
Kriege came through two miles in 11 minutes 4 seconds, and started to methodically pick off the competitors in the chase pack.
"The quick first mile created some carnage, which gave Mary some bait to chase down, and she did a great job focusing on one athlete at a time," said Montoro. "She closed nearly 20 seconds quicker than a couple of athletes over the last mile."
Kriege closed her last mile in 5 minutes 22 seconds, with the help of a 79 second last quarter to finish ninth in the field. Her mark of 17 minutes 11.77 seconds places her third all time in Santa Clara school history. Junior Kelly Ryan also competed in the event, finishing in 12th place in 17 minutes 55.34 seconds.
The men's 5,000 meter followed soon after, and the field was littered with talent and depth, setting up the Bronco men for a great conclusion to the season. Sophomore Adrian Hinojosa used a 4:40 last mile to reel in three student-athletes in the final 400 meters to finish eighth place in a new personal best of 14 minutes 39.16 seconds. His time is good enough for second all time in school history, 12 seconds off Kevin Oliver's school record set at the same meet one year ago.
"Adrian made some huge improvements this spring, and it's a direct result of a ton of hard work that really started last summer, and the momentum of that hard work carried into the winter and spring," said Montoro. "He's running nearly a minute faster than last year, and he and the coaching staff agrees that he still has a lot of room for growth. We're really looking forward to seeing his continuous development."
Senior Ben Demaree concluded his Santa Clara Bronco career in great fashion, running his first ever sub 15 minute 5k, shattering his previous best by nearly 16 seconds, running the 3.1 mile event in 14 minutes 44.14 seconds. His time vaults him up to fourth all-time in school history.
"Ben was coming off a 10k last week, which can be a challenge, but he embraced the opportunity and executed perfectly," said Montoro. "It couldn't have been a much better conclusion to a very bright Bronco career. Ben has been a very tough competitor and has a great work ethic, and we'll miss that next season, though we feel fortunate that the younger guys have emulated his ethic, and it should carry on into next year," he added. Demaree will graduate this spring, and will be pursuing his Ph.D in Bioengineering next fall at the University of California in Berkeley.
Junior Bryan Crook also competed in the 5k, finishing just off his personal best in 14 minutes 45.04 seconds, one spot behind teammate Demaree.
The Broncos will now take a break from training, but will resume their work in the coming weeks in preparation for cross country season, which begins in August.