Stags And Athenas Show Depth In Opening Competition
The cross country teams took their annual trip to Santa Barbara for the Nationball Classic against Westmont on Saturday and both teams had seven runners among the top 11 finishers. The traditional kickoff to each season for both teams has developed into one of the more enjoyable experiences of the season. The competition, which occurs when both teams are still running a lot of miles, is a four mile race in which the men, women and alumni from both teams run together near the beach in Santa Barbara.
Although the Stags won their meet handily, 23-37, the overall race winner was Jake Jeanson from Westmont. The former California State Cross Country Champion covered the four mile distance in a time of 19:54. The first CMS finisher was junior Bryan Chow (Livermore) with a time of 20:07. The Athenas won their meet 21-36 and also had the top two finishers. Jennifer Tave (St. Germain, France) ran 23:32 to finish 35 seconds ahead of freshman teammate Kerrin Smith (Dover, MA).
The Athenas are coming off a season where they placed third in the West Region and 22nd at the NCAA Championships. They are ranked 17th nationally in the USTFCCCA preseason poll. A strong returning squad aided by four competitive freshmen including Smith, Adele Eslinger (Edmonds, WA), Allison Barnwell (Seward, AK) and Adriana Ramos (Wildomar) should place the team in a position to do well in the SCIAC and Region as well as return to the NCAA Championships for the third straight year.
The Stags are a veteran squad with six runners with NCAA Championship experience with five of those seniors or juniors. This experience along with four talented sophomores in Brian Sutter (Monroe, WA), Rafer Dannenhauer (Shutesbury, MA), Quinn Chasan (Mercer Island, WA) and Brian Conroy (Sierra Madre) should allow the 14th ranked defending SCIAC and West Region Champion team to once again be a competitive force at the national level.
Next up for the two squads will be the UC Irvine Invitational this coming Saturday. The meet will be on the UCI campus with the first race starting at 8:00 am.