Sports


Cardinal cross country sweeps Stanford Invitational

 

The veterans carried the Stanford men's cross-country team to victory in Saturday's Stanford Invitational. The rookies were the heroes of the Cardinal women's team title.

It was a dominating display for both teams. Men's individual champion Chris Derrick helped the Cardinal to 27 points and a 25-point victory over second-place UCLA. The women were paced by Kathy Kroeger, who defended her Stanford Invitational title as Stanford recorded 24 points and a 114-point victory over second-place UC Davis.

"I thought it was a solid day," Stanford coach Jason Dunn said. "We had some of the top guys open up and get a race under the belt, and, of course, it is always nice to get the win, especially at home."

Derrick ran with teammate Jacob Riley, establishing an even pace and controlling the tempo throughout the race. Derrick finished in 23:15 (23:14.1). The time is the best time ever by a Stanford athlete on the 8,000-meter course and fourth best by any athlete. Riley was not far behind, finishing in a personal best 23:21, eighth in course history and third by a Stanford athlete.

Erik Olson and Benjamin Johnson placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Johnson also ran with the leaders for most of the race, eventually finishing with a time of 23:48.

Tyler Valdes finished 17th in 24:17 to complete Stanford's scoring. Travis Edwards and Kenny Krotzer were also among the Cardinal top seven.

Also running were heralded freshmen twins Joe Rosa and Jim Rosa. Jim would have been in the top five as he finished 13th overall, but both were running unattached. Jim finished 41st in 24:52.

"I was definitely happy with the freshmen guys," said Dunn. "We still have three weeks until the next time they might race, so we have some more time to evaluate."

The men held out several experienced, potential scoring, runners. They will run next week at Notre Dame while some of the other top runners take the weekend off.

There was a lot to like about the way the Stanford women ran the race, especially with the younger runners.

"The women's race went great," Stanford coach PattiSue Plumer said. "Every single racer on our team did something well. They might not have had the perfect race or put it all together, but every single person executed the race plan, finished strong, and overall I am very happy."

Kroeger went 20:07 over the 5,000 meter course to successfully defend her Invitational title. Her top competition was Cardinal freshman Aisling Cuffe, from whom she finally broke free on the final straightaway. Cuffe, the U.S. junior champion, ran 20:12 to finish second in her first race on the Stanford Golf Course.

Fifth-year senior Stephanie Marcy placed fifth in a time of 20:34, 17 seconds faster than freshman Molly McNamara, who was eighth in 20:51 in her collegiate debut.

Rounding out the top five was sophomore Jessica Tonn who placed 10th in 20:56. The freshmen sensation of a year ago continued her steady racing to put all five scorers in the top 10.

The rest of the top seven included another freshman, Alli Billmeyer, and senior Georgia Griffin. Billmeyer finished in 21:13, while Griffin went 21:27.

The impact of the freshmen was obvious Saturday. Put them in the same group with six of the top seven returning runners from last season and Plumer has reason to smile.

"We had a great two weeks in Tahoe," said Plumer. "Honestly, I was a little nervous about having so many freshmen, but it worked out really well. Our upperclassmen embraced the freshmen and the freshmen were really receptive."

The women skip Notre Dame and will compete at the Wisconsin Invitational, along with the men, on Oct. 14.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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