Some track meets are about running solid races, executing cleanly in the field events and collecting enough team points to win. This weekend, it’s all about taking the fast track.
The Mount SAC Invitational in L.A. and the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational will give the Gauchos’ runners a chance to strut their best stuff on a fast track. Those competing at Mount SAC will also have an opportunity to test their abilities against some of the best athletes in the country.
“This week is really about fast times,” Gaucho distance runner Eric Gans said. Gans, who set a personal best in the 5,000-meters a few weeks ago at the Stanford Invitational, will be competing in the 1,500-meters this weekend.
Anchored by their distance runners, the men’s team is looking to run their way into the national spotlight. The distance squad is primarily composed of the cross-country team that finished the season ranked 17th in the nation. Gans sees no reason why the track team cannot do the same.
“That’s what we’ve talked about all year, bringing success to the track side,” Gans said.
On the women’s squad, Katie Appenrodt looks to lead the way for the Gauchos. After already provisionally qualifying for Nationals in the 5,000 by running a blistering time of 16:35.46 at the Stanford Invitational, Appenrodt will run the 10,000-meters this weekend. As if the pressure of running in such a pressure-packed setting isn’t enough, it will also be her first time competing at this distance.
“Both meets are really good competition,” Appenrodt said “But Mount SAC is one of the best meets in the nation”.
Appenrodt does not expect the team to make a statement this weekend. Instead, the Gauchos plan to progress toward becoming a national power.
“Every year we take a small step towards getting more recognition for the program,” she said.
Teams will be flying in from all over the United States as well as several other countries to compete at this year’s invitational. The field for the Pomona-Pitzer meet will also have international competitors but will include athletes from Southern California primarily.