SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2019) – The Caltech men's cross country team improved greatly upon its previous collective showing, placing 15th among 36 competing teams at Saturday's Master's University Cross Country Invitational. The Beavers placed third among participating SCIAC teams in a field that spanned all three NCAA divisions, as well NAIA, junior colleges and club teams.
Senior Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) impressed by leading his team with a 26:01.8 to finish 37th out of 314 competitors. Ricci worked his way through a crowded field and came within 19 seconds of matching his time from last year's Master's Invitational. His placement in the field positioned him ninth among SCIAC competitors, finishing within six seconds of the top runner from Occidental College.
"Simon is executing on a really high level right now," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. It's great to see his hard work paying off."
Caltech received further team score contributions from sophomore Gaurav Phanse (Fremont, Calif. / Dublin) and senior Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont). Phanse bounced back from recent illness to cross the finish line in 27:10.8 while Moore took third on the team with a 27:14.4. Freshman Kyle Piper (Lafayette, Colo. / Centaurus) made a successful Master's Invitational debut with a 27:32.6 and senior David Fager (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) rounded out the Beavers' top five with a 27:41.5.
Junior Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.) took another leap forward as the most improved runner on the team with his second PR of more than one minute in as many meets. After posting a 32:47.90 at last year's Master's Invitational, Sun shrunk his personal best time down to 30:23.7 on Saturday. Meanwhile, juniors Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) and Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) returned from injury to post a 28:06.5 and a 28:55.0. Freshman Patrick Martinez (Fullerton, Calif. / Troy) PR'd with a 29:43.2, as did classmate Marcos Perez (North Hollywood, Calif. / North Hollywood) (31:24.0) and sophomores Kellen Rodriguez (Fairmont, Minn. / Fairmont) (30:30.8) and August Chen (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) (35:21.2). Senior Tiger Lu (Shanghai, China / Shanghai American School Puxi) came within three seconds of achieving a PR of his own (29:04.7) while freshman Julen Lujambio (Middletown, Conn. / Xavier) came within 17 seconds of matching his Riverside time (29:00.2).
"We showed a fair amount of progress from two weeks ago," Raphelson said. "The men are right to be excited about their trajectory."
Raphelson and the Beavers will look to take another step forward in two weeks at the Pomona-Pitzer Invite on Saturday, Oct. 12.