RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2017) – The Caltech men's and women's cross country teams continued the 2017 season with another promising showing at the University of California Riverside Invitational on Saturday morning.
The women's team made history as not one, but two runners finished sub-23 minutes on a 6,000-meter course for the first time. Freshmen Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) finished the invitational in 22 minutes, 42 seconds to lead the Beavers. Fellow freshman Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) finished just three seconds off Crotteau's pace. Only one Beaver in program history had finished below 23 seconds prior to Crotteau and Hu accomplishing the feat.
"Our freshman women really led the way with great 6km debuts," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "I'm pleased with their progress and really impressed with how well they're adapting to things. We've seen it each day in practice, but today was a clear sign that the women's team has a chance to compete at a really high level this year."
The women benefitted from a cool, brisk morning backdrop that made for ideal racing conditions. In addition to Crotteau and Hu posting big days in program context, sophomore Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) posted a personal best of 25:30 and fellow sophomore Jena Srikanth (Fresno, Calif. / Clovis North) topped her best time from a year ago by three seconds. It turned out to be an overall successful day for the women's team, which finished second among SCIAC and Division III teams while sharing the track with Division I programs such as the University of Alabama and the University of Arkansas.
The temperature rose for the men's race, but the weather ultimately yielded solid conditions for a comparatively fast course. Sophomores Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) and Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) led their squad with 26:28 and 26:35 times on the 8K course. Both times were career bests for the sophomore tandem. Their times also contributed to the Beavers placing ninth among 16 teams and beating out SCIAC schools such as California Lutheran University, University of Redlands and the University of La Verne to put an exclamation point on a successful team day.
"Simon and Tanner's races really show how much work they've put in in the past year," Raphelson said. "I also thought our male freshmen had very strong debut 8k races overall. Transitioning to the collegiate level is a big adjustment, so for them to perform so well in their first attempt at it reflects well on their potential going forward."
Freshman Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) also had himself a nice day, finishing just 23 seconds behind Moore. Other noteworthy performances came from the likes of returning sophomores Tiger Lu (Shanghai, China / Shanghai American School Puxi), Bhairav Chidambaram (San Diego, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.) and David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep), all of whom achieved personal-best times.
Raphelson and the Beavers will look to build on the weekend momentum on Friday, Sept. 27 when they participate in the SCIAC Multi-Duals.