Photo: Jack Hancock
CHINO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2017) – Freshman Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) placed 13th overall and second among freshman runners to take home All-SCIAC Second Team honors at Saturday's SCIAC Championship meet. The meet's first 10 finishers traditionally earn the distinction of All-SCIAC First Team while the second team is reserved for finishers 11 through 20.
"It has been a pleasure watching Claire thrive this year," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "She battled injury issues throughout most of high school, but now we're getting a glimpse of what she's capable of with consistent, healthy training. Her performances this year are a credit to her perseverance and the challenging lessons she learned when dealing with those injuries.
"The future is bright for her and the whole team."
Both the men's and women's teams matched their sixth-place finishes from last year's SCIAC Championships, though both teams set record scoring marks. The men made their mark with a team-best SCIAC score dating back to 2007 prior before Chapman University joined the conference. The women, meanwhile posted their best score since 1996 when there were only seven teams in the conference.
"Cross Country can be an unpredictable sport, but we had every reason to feel confident about our preparation and our readiness to perform," Raphelson said. "We ended up with a number of people sick on race day, but they gave their best efforts and others stepped up in their stead."
Hu completed the Prado Park course in 24:08.39 to lead Caltech's women's team. Fellow freshman Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) finished exactly one minute off Hu's pace to take the distinction of the second highest women's finish for the Beavers. She finished 28th overall and came just 23 seconds away from joining Hu on the All-SCIAC Second Team. Sophomore Jena Srikanth (Fresno, Calif. / Clovis North) returned to action and finished third on the team, clocking in at 26:27.34. Another sophomore, Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) followed Srikanth by just 13 seconds and tied for her highest finish ever among Beavers. Freshman Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) finished fifth among Beavers with a 27:03.28 time and freshman Sirisha Gudavalli (Boulder, Colo. / Fairview) (27:25.53) and junior Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) (28:06.93) rounded out the Caltech women's top seven.
The men's team had a similar day in the context of the SCIAC field. Sophomore Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) led the pack for Caltech and earned a 27th place finish. He completed the 8K course in 27:10.07 and came less than 20 seconds away from also achieving a spot on the All-SCIAC Second Team. He did, however better his time from last year's SCIAC Championships by more than 40 seconds. Fellow sophomore Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) came in 26 seconds behind Ricci but like Ricci also had a near 40-second improvement on his time from last year's event. Freshman pair Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) and Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) took third and fourth place distinctions on the team. Earney finished the course in 28:20.47 and Morgenfeld finished just six seconds of his pace. Sophomore Tommy Alford (Dublin, Ohio / Dublin Coffman), who finished sixth on the team at last year's SCIAC Championships posted his best time of the season and finished fifth among Beavers (28:33.80). Alford also improved on his time from September's SCIAC Multi-Duals by about 90 seconds. Sophomore David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) (28:59.23) and junior Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) (29:19.33) rounded out the men's top seven.
Raphelson and the Beavers will now begin preparation for the NCAA West Regional Championships on Nov. 11.
Check out Claire Hu's recent appearance on Beaver of the Week below!