RIVERSIDE — The Occidental men's and women's cross country teams are both ranked No. 4 in the USTFCCCA West Region rankings after solid performances at the UC Riverside Invite last Saturday.
The Oxy women moved up from a preseason ranking of No. 7 and the men held their preseason rank.
Women's UC Riverside Invite
The women's goal was to run controlled the first 2 miles of the race and pick up the pace for the end of their 5k. The team did an excellent job of this, which resulted in many of our athlete making up 10s of places throughout the last mile of the race. Leading the way for the Tigers was senior, captain Sabrina Thurber. She clocked in at 18:48, which was good for 24th overall out of 190 runners. The place and time are a markable improvement for Sabrina who last ran 19:07 and finished 57th on this course. This theme of improvement was evident in many of our top 5 finishers including junior Kayla Lim: 18:50 and 27th place up from 19:23 and 68th place, junior Lilah Abrams 19:13 and 45th place up from 19:51 and 95th place, and junior Gabi Wayne 19:39 and 68th place up from 19:51 and 93rd place. Overall, the women's team logged 9 course PRs.
From the Coach: "Saturday was a really positive day for our women's team. Our coaches were impressed with how the team executed our race strategy and moved up well in the second half of the race," Oxy head coach Rob Bartlett said. "We were also proud of the toughness that the team displayed in the warm weather. Our returners had 9 course PRs including Sabrina Thurber who ran a 19 sec course PR, Kayla Lim who has a 33 sec course PR and Lilah Abrams who had a 38 sec course PR. Lydia Montgomery led our newcomers in her first collegiate race and impressed as our 4th finisher on the day."
Men's UC Riverside Invite
The men's team ran later in the day and definitely felt the heat. Despite this, they were able to finish 3rd overall in their race and were led in by some positive performances from the front five, who, similar to the women's team, made some good progress from the prior years on the same course. The largest improvement had to come from sophomore James Brennan who continued where he left off from his last race. He finished with a time of 26:07, which was good for 12th overall; a markable improvement from last year where he ran 27:35 and finished 85th. Senior, captain Thomas Robertson found similar success moving up from 26th a year ago to finish 16th Saturday. Lastly, sophomore Matt Scarlett moved from finishing 37th last season to 23rd on the day.
From the Coach: "The Oxy men raced in the fourth and final race of the day and faced temperatures approaching 90 degrees," Oxy head coach Rob Bartlett said. "As such, their times were a little slower than we'd hoped, but we were proud of their performances and 3rd place team finish. Sophomore Jaime Brennan had the biggest break out of the day dropping his 8k cross country PR by 1:28 and moving up from 85th in last years race to 12th this year."
Next Meet: Oxy is back in action at the TMU Invite in Santa Clara on Sept. 28.