RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2019) – Junior Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.) led a mixed but encouraging day for the Caltech men's cross country team at the Riverside Invitational on Saturday morning. Sun shaved 80 seconds off his career-best time to finish the 8K Open in 31:27.4 despite the increasingly hot conditions.
"When someone has a breakout race like Hao did today, regardless of where that falls on our roster, it's incredibly exciting for the whole team," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "He's worked tremendously hard, so it wasn't a surprise to those who have seen that over the past few seasons."
Freshman Patrick Martinez (Fullerton, Calif. / Troy) led all Beavers in the Open with a 30:19.0 with Sun crossing the finish line just over a minute behind him. Classmate Marcos Perez (North Hollywood, Calif. / North Hollywood) also had a strong debut (32:07.4) while sophomores Kellen Rodriguez (Fairmont, Minn. / Fairmont) and August Chen (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) rounded out the Caltech field.
The men's team also competed in the 8K Invitational where they managed to achieve a higher team score than SCIAC foe University of La Verne amidst a field consisting of schools across all three NCAA divisions as well as NAIA. Senior Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) paced the Beavers with a 26:02 in his first 8K race of the season while classmate Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) followed with a 26:41.8. Freshmen Kyle Piper (Lafayette, Colo. / Centaurus) (27:23.3) and Julen Lujambio (Middletown, Conn. / Xavier) (28:43.5) each posted encouraging debuts in the tough conditions while senior David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) also figured into the Beavers' top-five runners (28:10.2). Sophomore Gaurav Phanse (Fremont, Calif. / Dublin) and senior Tiger Lu (Shanghai, China / Shanghai American School Puxi) rounded out the field for Caltech, crossing the line in 28:50.4 and 29:22.4 respectively.
"Overall it was a mixed day," Raphelson said. "We saw plenty of hard work over the summer pay off for many today. I think everyone is eager to get back to work."
Raphelson and the Beavers will have two weeks to prepare for the Mustang Challenge in Santa Clarita, set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 28.