The UCSB men’s and women’s cross country teams came out strong at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto last Saturday.

The men’s squad finished third out of 27 teams with an overall score of 78, only twelve points behind Utah State. In the 8000 meter event, senior Josh Horton led the pack for Santa Barbara, coming in 8th with a time of 25:17. Senior Eric Gans finished 10th at 25:29, and junior Brandon von Guenthner came in 18th with a time of 25:41.

“[They] executed their plan very well,” UCSB Head Coach Pete Dolan said of the men’s team. “It’s still early in the season… but many teams make the mistake of coming out too strongly too early. But we have enough left to finish the season well.”

One of the strongest showings for the Gauchos was junior Bryon Lamorandier. Filling in for an injured athlete on his 21st birthday, Lamorandier surprised everyone by finishing fourth for the Gauchos with a time of 25:49.

“Overall, the team performed well,” Lamorandier said. “We ran better than in previous years … I myself ran over a minute faster than last year … I expect us to be one of the better teams in the region.”

Other impressive performances for UCSB included senior Aaron Sharp’s time of 25:54 for 26th place, junior J.T. Service’s time of 26:04 for 31st place, and junior Dave Monico’s time of 27:01 for 70th place.

Although the team ran well, it hopes to do better in the future. “Most people on the team kind of left the meet hungry…at least I felt we could run faster,” Horton said.

The women’s team also finished strongly by placing 6th overall, compared to last year’s 13th place finish. The Gauchos finished with 215 points, beating Big West rival Cal Poly (249) and threatening Utah State. The Aggies finished with 203 points.

In the 6000 meter race, Junior Katie Appenrodt had one of the strongest runs at the Invite, finishing 15th with a time of 21:15.

“[Appenrodt ] proved that she is a national-caliber [runner],” Dolan said.

Sophomore Cossette Smith came in 20 seconds behind Appenrodt with a time of 22:14.

Other noteworthy times for UCSB include the following: 22:41 for sophomore Kelly Moore, placing her in 41st place; 23:10 and 64th place for senior Tamar Gamliel’s; 23:38 and 83rd place for sophomore Julia Gray; 24:28 and 120th place for sophomore Vanessa Hernandez; and 24:30 and 123rd place for junior Tiffany De Jesus.

“[The Stanford Invitational] was the best performance by the women in five years,” Dolan said.

Dolan feels that both teams ran well and that they have shown vast improvements since the end of last season.

“We have shown we are a very good team,” he said.

The Gauchos’ next meet is October 13 at the Pre-Nationals in Spartenburg, South Carolina.