PASADENA (July 6, 2017) – The Caltech men's and women's cross country and track & field teams have followed up one of their best recruiting classes in program history from last season with yet another, this year bringing in 14 newcomers to join the most successful squads in a decade.
Michael Brown (New Orleans, La. / Isidore Newman)
Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte)
Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto)
Alex Popov (Tarrytown, N.Y. / Hackley School)
Jacob Ressler (Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X Catholic)
Daniel Rostovstev (Swarthmore, Pa. / Strath Haven)
Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.)
Davis Tardif (Roswell, Ga. / Roswell)
"We're very fortunate to be adding such a deep and talented group," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "Each year, our overall talent has actually improved considerably. We know that it can take time for younger distance runners to experience competitive success at this level, but the abilities and accomplishments of this group give us every reason to be optimistic about the future."
Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond)
Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton)
Sirisha Gudavalli (Boulder, Colo. / Fairview)
Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn)
Lily Kitagawa (Portage, Mich. / Portage Central)
Jessica Ye (Lutherville Timonium, Md. / Dulaney)
"This is probably the deepest, most talented class of female distance runners that has matriculated at Caltech in my time here," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "Last year, our women's team took a huge step forward, both in the conference and regionally. This group will be key in continuing, if not accelerating, that progress."
New Orleans, La. / Isidore Newman
Brown enters Caltech as one of the most accomplished middle-distance prep runners in recent years, having won an indoor state championship over 800m and an outdoor 1600m title. He has also recorded three Top 10 finishes at the state cross country meet. Self-taught in eight computer programming languages, Brown also works at a local 3d printing/scanning start-up and has taken online courses in linear algebra and electrical engineering through Stanford University and Duke University.
"Michael is uniquely accomplished at a wide range of distances and raced at a high level throughout his high school career, consistently mixing it up for state titles," Raphelson said. "We are eager for him to join us and think he will make an immediate impact."
San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte
A three-time CIF Section finalist and two-time state qualifier, Earney's incoming times point to him competing for a spot among the Beavers' top seven lineup in cross country and becoming a valuable mid-distance presence in track & field. He has taken a Residential Summer Robotics Course at the University of California, San Diego.
"Matthew immediately impressed me with his determination," Raphelson said. "He is truly passionate about becoming the best runner he can be and doing it in a Caltech uniform. His blend of talent and work ethic will carry him a long way."
Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto
5km XC: 16:19
Morgenfeld is a three-time state qualifier in cross country and personally founded and secured funding for the FIRST robotics team competition in which his squad advanced to the playoff round in its first year.
"Spencer really blossomed in the fall of his senior year in cross country, dropping nearly a minute to earn a huge personal-best over 5k on a challenging course," Raphelson said. "I think he has great potential at the longer 8k distance that we contest in college and I look forward to him continuing his rapid development."
Atlanta, Ga. / St. Pius X Catholic
Ressler placed eighth at the Georgia cross country state championships as a senior and spent two summers working at the Neurophysiology Research lab at Yerkes National Primate Center.
"Jacob has the potential to be a great collegiate runner," Raphelson said. "He felt an instant connection to our team and campus and is eager to get his Caltech career underway. He brings a positive, resilient outlook to the sport that will serve him well."
Roswell, Ga. / Roswell
2k steeple: 6:47
Another accomplished mid-distance runner in track & field, Tardif also is a rare high school steeplechase competitor. He placed first at the regional tech fair in individual programming and has completed courses at Georgia Tech in multivariable calculus and linear algebra.
"Davis really shined in the middle distance events while in high school, and I think he'll be successful in any event he contests at the college level," Raphelson said. "He has exceptional footspeed and his high school times don't necessarily reflect his tremendous potential."
Tarrytown, N.Y. / Hackley School
Swarthmore, Pa. / Strath Haven
Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.
"These three join the group with aspirations to continue their athletic development and contribute to our growing team culture," Raphelson said. "Any time you can add committed, hard-working members to the team, it strengthens the larger group. These three truly fit that criteria."
Redmond, Wash. / Redmond
A Washington state qualifier in cross country, Brodsky completed dual enrollment at Bellevue College, from which she will graduate with an associate's degree after serving as a calculus, chemistry and English tutor. She placed in the 99th percentile on the national genchem exam.
"Krystal competed at a high level while balancing dual enrollment at her local community college," Raphelson said. "Not only a versatile talent able to succeed at both the middle and long distance events, she comes in well prepared to thrive as a student-athlete at Caltech."
Chicago, Ill. / Payton
Crotteau qualified for the Illinois state championships twice while also interning at the Chicago Diabetes Project and researching Oncofertility in the Northwestern Health Science program.
"Even with the athletic success she has experienced in high school, I think Molly is really just scratching the surface of her ability," Raphelson said. "I'm looking forward to seeing her progress – she has the potential to be a key cog in our team for the next four years."
Boulder, Colo. / Fairview
5k XC: 20:53
An impressive athlete who competed at altitude throughout high school, Gudavalli also conducted bioengineering research at Colorado University and biochemistry research at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"Sirisha comes from a highly successful program in Colorado," Raphelson said. "Her personal-best cross country time was recorded at over 5,000 feet above sea level, where there is a relative lack of oxygen, so she figures to thrive here in Southern California."
Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn
5km XC: 19:19
Another state qualifier among this year's recruits, Hu boasts a personal-best five-kilometer cross country team that ranks among the fastest of any incoming runner in program history. She had conducted nutrition research through the University of Connecticut Mentor Connection and ecology research on Bay-Area watershed through Advanced Authentic Research.
"Claire's passion and energy for running are contagious," Raphelson said. "She is a gifted and dedicated competitor who has a chance to make an impact early in her career. I think she'll really thrive over the longer distance races that we contest in college."
Portage, Mich. / Portage Central
Lutherville Timonium, Md. / Dulaney
"Jessica and Lily will provide important depth to our group and will have every opportunity to develop into Top-7 performers for our group," Raphelson said. "I'm excited to get them on campus and help them progress."