LOGAN, Utah — Santa Clara cross country gained valuable experience racing at altitude and produced good results on Saturday at the BYU Autumn Classic. The women's team took third place of six groups in the 5-kilometer race and the men's team took fourth place of six groups in the 7-kilometer race at Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course.
Emma McCurry led the women for the second straight event; she placed 28th with a 19:08.9. Jack Davidson made his season debut for the men and took 25th with a 21:49.2. The 2018 West Coast Conference Championships will also be held in The Beehive State.
Saturday's event was moved from East Bay Golf Course in Provo, Utah, due to poor air quality caused by a pair of large mountain fires in Utah County.
Sarah King (33rd – 19:27.6), Noelani Obermeyer (34th – 19:31.4), Kalen Abe (38th – 19:48.8) and Janie Nabholz (39th – 19:51.5) also scored for the Broncos. Ellie Kopf, Jamie Ferris, Carolina Avelar, Claire Cocales and Lucie Semone raced for the team as well.
BYU produced the top six runners for 15 points and a team victory, including individual medalist Erica Birk (17:00.9). Santa Clara's 96 points helped them best West Coast Conference foe Pacific (111), as well as Dixie State and Westminster College.
Associate head coach Pete Cushman: "We met most of our objectives today. Finishing third, ahead of Pacific who beat us all of last year and behind two great programs, is a good sign. Noe and Sarah did a great job closing up our gap, and I think they can keep inching closer to Emma."
Zach Litoff, who led the Broncos at the season-opening USF Invitational, posted a 21:50.5 to place 26th. Evan Misuraca (31st – 22:01.2), Aaron Brumbaugh (39th – 22:20.50) and Xander Olivero (40th – 22:21.8) also scored for the Broncos. James Konugres, Christian Raslowsky, John O'Hagan, Brennan Lagerstrom and Ben Davidson raced for the team as well.
BYU won the team title with the race's top five finishers, including individual medalist Clayson Shumway (20:56.2). Santa Clara totaled 90 points, finishing only three points shy of Weber State while besting Dixie State and Westminster College.
Head coach Felipe Montoro: "The men had a solid day. Our main goal was to get some experience feeling the altitude in a race environment for out student-athletes that haven't been there before. Being only three points behind Weber State bodes well for us heading into the meat of the season. I thought Evan had the best individual performance and it was great to get Jack back on the course with his teammates."
Both teams are back in action next Friday (Sept. 21) at the San Francisco State Invitational.
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