MISSOULA, Mont./NOTRE DAME, Ind./SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Santa Clara women's cross country highlighted a stretch of three events in two days by taking third place of 13 teams at the Montana Invitational Friday. Noelani Obermeyer led the way with a 5-kilometer 19:10.7 to take 13th place at UM Golf Course.
Santa Clara's men had a tough day of racing at the Notre Dame Joe Piane Invitational on Friday, finishing in 16th place of 17 teams. Zach Litoff took 46th place with a 24:51.9 on the 8-kilometer course at Burke Golf Course.
On Saturday, the team sent five men and six women to the Capital Cross Challenge. Ben Davidson took 55th place with an 8-kilometer 25:27.8 to lead the men and Claire Cocales paced the women by finishing the 6-kilometer race in 23:31, good for 121st place at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.
MONTANA WOMEN'S 5K
Obermeyer, Emma McCurry (15th – 19:15.3), Sarah King (17th – 19:18.1), Jamie Ferris (29th – 19:15.3) and Janie Nabholz (32nd – 19:44.3) scored for the Broncos. Marisa Sanchez, Ellie Kopf, Carolina Avelar and Kalen Abe raced for the team as well.
The women posted their second straight top-three finish; they took third place at the BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 15. They totaled 103 points and outraced Montana State (128), who was ranked 11th in the Mountain Region of the latest USTFCCCA poll, along with West Coast Conference foes in Pacific (136) and Gonzaga (137). Idaho (20) had the top three finishers and five of the top eight overall, led by Kara Story.
Associate Head Coach Pete Cushman: "I'm very happy with how we executed our plan and competed. We hadn't beat Gonzaga in years, and that's a result we are happy about. They're a team with a lot of depth and options, and we might see an entirely different seven when they come down to the Bronco Invite in two weeks, so we can expect a challenge from them again.
"Things are coming together in our racing and training, and Bronco will serve as a great final tune up for WCC, and also give us a chance to narrow down our competitive roster for our championship season."
JOE PIANE MEN'S 8K
Litoff, Aaron Brumbaugh (79th – 25:25.6), James Konugres (90th – 25:25.3), Jack Davidson (100th – 25:49.6) and Christian Raslowsky (113th – 26:11.9) scored for the Broncos. Evan Misuraca, Jorge Estrella, John O'Hagan and Xander Olivero also competed in the event.
Santa Clara (401 points) topped Incarnate Word on the day. BYU's Connor McMillan crossed the finish line first and was one of five Cougar runners in the top nine of a convincing team victory.
Head Coach Felipe Montoro: "Our men struggled at Notre Dame. It was a good reminder for us that we are inexperienced and unproven in these types of races: big fields and highly competitive. We will learn from this and get better."
CAPITAL CROSS CHALLENGE MEN'S 8K/WOMEN'S 6K
Davidson, Brennan Lagerstrom (68th – 25:37.2), Austin Blankenship (112th – 26:09.2), Aditya Mohan (142nd – 26:28.7), Wilder Boyden (158th – 26:40.9) scored for the Broncos and Luke Davies rounded out the team's unit.
Coach Montoro: "Ben and Brennan ran phenomenal races. They both were inside the top seven from Pepperdine and LMU, two good teams that we will face at Bronco in two weeks and of course at the WCC championships."
Cocales, Cecilia Avelar (133rd – 23:41.1), Bevin McCullough (138th – 23:44.2), Lucie Semone (158th – 24:02.8) and Julia Green (199th – 24:52.5) scored for the Broncos. Hannah Covington ran unattached and took 65th place in 22:45.0.
Coach Cushman: "We will debut Hannah Covington in uniform at Bronco based on her performance in Sacramento."
Santa Clara hosts the Bronco Invitational on Saturday, October 13 at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, California.
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