CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2015) – Several Caltech men's and women's cross country runners underlined the Beavers' depth with big improvements at the Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country Invitational early Saturday morning.
"We were looking to build on our experience from two weeks ago and gain some experience on this year's West Regionals course," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "It also provided a good opportunity to test ourselves against most of the SCIAC. Both teams are getting closer to what we want to become by the end of October. It will take more smart and hard work between now and then, but it's starting to take shape."
Senior Aditya Bhagavathi (Plainsboro, N.J. / West Windsor-Plainsboro North) continued his steady progression with a team-best 21st-place finish to lead the men to the fourth-fastest average time in program history (27:34.17). The 2014 NCAA qualifier sat off the main pack early once again yet still trimmed 41 seconds off his season debut two weeks ago and came in under his time at last year's meet at 26:04.28. Senior Jared Forte (Lake Elsinore, Calif. / Elsinore) also finished quicker than in last year's race, while freshman Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) beat out his time from the Mustang Challenge by over 17 seconds (27:38.82).
Senior Alexander Anemogiannis (Atlanta, Ga. / Marist School) and freshman Rohan Doshi (West Windsor, N.J. / West Windsor-Plainsboro North) made successful 8k debuts, with the veteran posting a career-best 28:06.78 and rookie pacing roughly 15 seconds off the average mile in his collegiate debut 6k last month to clock a 28:22.21.
Other notable performances included freshman Michael Hashe (Plano, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) dropping an astounding 1:20 (32:33.40) in just two weeks and sophomore Mason MacDougall (La Mirada, Calif. / La Mirada) cutting another 51 seconds to record a 33:03.65 – 3:30 faster than last year.
"Ani and Rohan stepped up in their first 8k of the season to round out our top 5," Raphelson said. "For Ani to open the year with a career-best time is a tribute to his hard work and perseverance through some chronic injury issues."
Still not at full strength due to some injury management concerns, the women's team nevertheless found positives to take away from its first 6k of the year. Freshman Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) stood out (25:20.83) with a mile pace that bettered her performance in the Mustang Challenge despite going the extra kilometer. Freshmen Ariel Hasse (Wasilla, Alaska) and Lilly Luo (Belle Mead, N.J. / Montgomery) placed third and fourth, respectively, among Beavers in their collegiate debuts with times of 29:07.66 and 29:09.02. Rookie Robin Brown (Cabin John, Md. / Walt Whitman), in just her third career race, continued a trend of rapid improvement as she paced a full 30 seconds faster per mile than on the shorter course two weeks prior to clock a 29:47.30. Senior Alice Michel (La Canada, Calif. / La Canada) made her season debut with a 30:19.51.
"We had several surprise themselves, especially Lilly and Ariel in their first races," Raphelson said. "Those two, along with Robin and Alice, got to showcase the tremendous progress they've made in training."
Raphelson and the Beavers will line up at the SCIAC Multi-Duals in La Mirada Park on Saturday, Oct. 17.