SAN FRANCISCO – Junior Kelsey Santisteban captured the women’s individual title and fellow junior Chris Walden place second individually for the men to lead the California men’s and women’s cross country teams to a second-place finish at the season-opening USF Invitational at Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadow on Saturday, Aug. 31.
The women totaled 54 points to place second behind Stanford (20), snapping a streak of three-straight women’s team titles for the Bears in the event. Host USF (85) placed third as a team on the women’s side. The men accumulated 35 points to finish second, just five back of first-place Stanford (30).
“It was good to get the season started with this early season affair in San Francisco,” said California head men’s and women’s cross country coach Tony Sandoval. “Kelsey Santisteban ran very comfortably through two miles and pulled away easily the last mile. Chris Walden led a Cal grouping through three miles and broke from the pack over the last mile. He was surprised at the finish by the USF competitor, but otherwise ran very strong and smooth.
“Most teams mixed and matched their squads today,” Sandoval added. “Given that no at-large points count until the last week in September, Stanford, BYU, USF and us used the meet to experiment with tactics and personnel.”
Santisteban completed the 5,000-meter course in 17:26.1 to capture her second individual title in the event in the past three years. She also won the event in 2011 and placed second in last season’s race. It marks the first time an individual has won multiple titles at the USF Invitational, male or female.
Sophomore Julia Lipson (18:14.6) and junior Sydney Gray (18:15.4) placed 12th and 13th, respectively, for the Bears. Junior Laura O’Neill finished the course in 18:25.1 to place 16th, sophomore Ashlyn Dadkhah recorded a time of 18:38.4 to place 18th and freshman Molly Babcock registered a time of 18:48.8 to place 22nd for the Bears in the event.
Walden paced four Golden Bears in the top-10 for the men with a time of 25:14.7 in the 8,000-meter course, just three seconds back of first-place Eric Causey of USF (25:11.5). Senior J.P. Slater placed sixth overall with a time of 25:21.8, junior Jordan Locklear was right behind in seventh with a time of 25:30.3 and sophomore Leland Later placed ninth, finishing in 25:38.2. Freshman Seamus Land (25:44.0) placed 11th, sophomore Thomas Joyce (25:52.2) finished 13th, sophomore Ned Trim (26:04.7) placed 16th and freshman Kristian Martinez (26:28.4) was 21st to round out the Bears in the event.
Cal returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 28 as several Golden Bears travel to Charlottesville, Va. for the Panorama Farms Invitational with the remainder of the squad competing nearby in the Stanford Invitational.