TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The California men’s and women’s cross country teams enjoyed a strong showing at the Pre-Nationals Invitational Saturday morning at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.
Both the men and women raced on the course that will serve as the site for the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, Nov. 23.
Junior Kelsey Santisteban captured the individual title – her third of the season – and the Golden Bear women took home the team crown in the un-seeded race, while the Cal men placed 27th overall out of 52 schools in the seeded men’s competition.
“Kelsey ran very well,” said California Director of Track & Field/Head Cross Country Coach Tony Sandoval. “Her time would’ve been fifth-best overall in the seeded race. She wasn’t pressed the entire race. We had a number of people that really stepped up. We had Heather Cerney back and she made a big difference. We went in short-handed on the men’s side, but I thought they each raced pretty well.”
On the women’s side, Cal (105) edged out Virginia Tech (107) in the 35-team race that featured schools just outside the top-10 in the previous week’s regional rankings.
Santisteban led all runners, cruising to nine-second victory with a time of 20.18.45 in the 6,000-meter race. Eastern Michigan’s Victoria Voronko placed second with a time of 20:27.92. Junior Heather Cerney placed 11th overall with a time of 21:25.61. Sophomore Xochitl Navarrete (21:47.55) placed 24th, while junior Sydney Gray (21:50.17) was right behind in 27th. Sophomore Mariel Mendoza (45th, 22:01.05), freshman Molly Babcock (57th, 22:08.82) and junior Laura O’Neill (161st, 23:24.91) rounded out the Cal contingent in the Pre-Nationals Invitational.
With Saturday's result, Cal moved from 14th to eighth place in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region rankings.
The Cal men totaled 724 points to place 27th overall in the competitive 52-team event that included several nationally-ranked programs. Colorado captured the team title with 90 total points.
Senior J.P. Slater paced the Bears in the men’s race with a time of 24:34.60 in the 8,000-meter race to finish 98th overall. Sophomore Thomas Joyce (24:37.32) placed 103rd, while junior Jordan Locklear (24:46.20) and sophomore Leland Later (24:47.72) finished 120th and 125th, respectively. Freshmen Jeff Schaefer (278th, 25:43.26), Seamus Land (286th, 25:47.45) and Ned Trim (333rd, 26:30.94) rounded out the Golden Bear contingent in the event.
Cal will next be in action Saturday, Nov. 2 in Louisville, Colo. for the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships. The event is set to begin at 9:40 a.m. (PT).