RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Caltech men's and women's cross country teams showed large improvements today in hot conditions against a quality field at the UC-Riverside Invitational.
Leading the way for the women was Stephanie Reynolds '15. Reynolds covered the 5km course in 20:27.9 for 107th place despite being struck with stomach problems midway through the event. Following her were Caroline Atyeo '18 and Gauri Shastri '17 who both made their collegiate cross country debuts. Atyeo missed some training due to injury, but still finished 148th in 21:21.0. Shastri – in her first cross country race in two years – came through with a near-career-best of 23:19.3 to take 215th. Rounding out the squad was the trio of Sheila Lo '16, Kate Evans '17 and Carla Watson '15 who worked together throughout the race. They finished in 26:31.6, 26:33.4 and 26:45.8 for 238th, 239th and 240th, respectively.
After opening the season with a 6km race at the University of Redlands, the men's team faced its first 8km race of the year. Aditya Bhagavathi '16 ran a brilliant tactical race. He started out towards the back of the field before he worked all the way up to 19th place overall in a time just seconds off his career-best (26:47.0). That performance is the ninth fastest in the last 15 years for the Beavers. Next across the line was Ian Koss '15 in 63rd with 27:51.9. Alexander Anemogiannis '16 finished in 128th place in a time of 29:40.6. John McDaniel '18 finished fourth for the team in his 8km debut (155th in 31:18.3). Elliot Simon rounded out the scoring for the Beavers (159th in a time of 31:33.9). Other competitors were Joel Kosmatka '17 (169th, 32:10.9), Gene Vaughan '18 (175th, 32:37), Mason MacDougall '18 (194th, 39:28.3), Alex Geffner-Mihlsten '17 (195th, 45:51.0) and Alex Port '15 (196th, 46:00.0).
"We introduced a lot of new elements to training over the past week with our long-term goals in mind," said head coach Ben Raphelson, who made his Caltech debut today. "It would have been understandable had their performances suffered in the short-term as a result. The racing today exceeded my expectations though. We were a bit overzealous in the first mile, but on the whole, the teams averaged a faster pace over a longer distance than two weeks ago."
The team will host a gathering of alumni next weekend and return to competition on October 4 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
"I'm excited for us to continue our progress over the next three weeks," added Coach Raphelson. "The teams have shown a tremendous work ethic and desire to improve. I think they'll surprise themselves with what they can accomplish this year."