Vanessa Fraser led a flurry of four Stanford finishers within 19 seconds, as the Cardinal women finished sixth at the Pre-National Invitational cross country meet on Saturday.
Racing on the 6-kilometer (3.73-mile) LaVern Gibson Course that will be used at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19, Fraser placed 24th in 20:39.7 and was followed by Danielle Katz in 29th (20:45.9), Christina Aragon in 41st (20:53.6), and Ella Donaghu in 47th (20:58.5). No. 5 runner Abbie McNulty was 88th (21:20.0).
Stanford raced without ace Elise Cranny, the 2014 Pac-12 runner-up, who "tweaked" her foot on Friday during the pre-meet shakeout, said coach Elizabeth DeBole. She added that Cranny was held out as a "precaution."
The race marked the collegiate debut of two big-time recruits, Christina Aragon and Ella Donaghu – two of the seven fastest 1,500-meter high school runners of all time. However, without Cranny, Stanford still has yet to race its top seven together. The next opportunity is at the Pac-12 Championships on Oct. 28 in Tucson, Arizona.
When Katz raced at Pre-Nats last year in Louisville, Kentucky, she was Stanford's No. 6 runner. Since then, she has emerged as one of the Cardinal's best, as a solid No. 3 behind Cranny and Fraser.
Overall, DeBole felt good about her team's performance.
"It was really positive," she said.