SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2019) – The Caltech women's cross country team finished 12th out of 40 competing teams at Saturday's Master's University Cross Country Invitational. The women, who came into the event ranked fifth in the NCAA Division III West region, rode their depth and narrow time gap between their top five finishers to an encouraging team placement, good for fourth among competing SCIAC teams. Saturday also marked the first time this season the Beavers had the benefit of all 12 runners competing in a race.
Junior Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) led the Beavers with a 19:02.9 to take 51st in a field consisting of 308 competitors from across all three NCAA divisions, as well NAIA, junior colleges and club teams. Just 33 seconds separated Hu and the Beavers' fifth-place finisher, sophomore Alex Bardon (Boston, Mass. / Winsor School) who crossed the finish line in 19:34.5. Junior Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Payton) also ran a positive race, coming in just two seconds behind Hu at 19:04.9, while freshman Lauren Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill. / Lake Forest) notched a great Master's debut (19:19.5) and senior Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord) improved upon her time from last year's race in Santa Clarita with a 19:22.6. Freshman Pippa Richter (Columbia, S.C. / A.C. Flora) finished less than one second behind fifth-place Bardon to give the Beavers six placements inside the top third of the field.
"Our depth was on full display today," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "Having a tight spread behind Claire really led to a strong team placing in a field that was larger than usual for this meet."
Other runners to improve from last year's Master's Invitational included senior Nicole Feng (Bethany, Conn. / Amity Regional) (21:19.7) and junior Sirisha Gudavalli (Boulder, Colo. / Fairview) (21:08.4), who notched significant 48 and 31 second improvements respectively. Meanwhile, freshman Tea Freedman-Susskind (Seattle, Wash. / Lakeside) (22:58.4) and junior Jessica Ye (Lutherville Timonium, Md. / Dulaney) (23:25.3) completed the Master's 5K course for the first time and sophomores Jamie Littman (Port Washington, N.Y. / Paul D. Schreiber) and Natalie Lelieur (South Pasadena, Calif. / South Pasadena) rounded out the Caltech field with a 22:29.1 and a 25:53.2.
Raphelson and the Beavers will compete again in two weeks at the Pomona-Pitzer Invite on Saturday, Oct. 12.