In a long season, the UCSB men’s and women’s cross country teams will not focus entirely on short-term goals, but on preparing for the long haul.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were focused on larger goals this weekend at the Stanford Invitational at Palo Alto.

The men’s cross country team ran to a fifth-place finish on Saturday, Sept. 28. Senior Brandon von Guenthner paced the Gauchos by finishing the course in 24th place with a time of 24:26. The UCSB women’s squad enjoyed a seventh-place finish. Senior Katie Appenrodt led the way for Santa Barbara with a seventh-place showing, wrapping up the race with a time of 21:43.

UCSB Head Coach Pete Dolan was upbeat after the meet.

“It’s all about how fit you can get and how long you can hold it for,” Dolan said. “We are focused on being the best team we can be in three weeks.”

The Gauchos will lace up for the pre-NCAA meet at Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 19. Teams use meets such as the Stanford Invite to gauge the progress they have made and must make in order to qualify for the NCAAs.

Von Guenthner started his race at a slower pace in order to help his teammates. The Laguna Niguel native attempted to close the margin at the end of the race, with mixed results.

“It was too big of a move [to close the gap],” von Guenthner said. “It kinda worked me. It’s OK. This team has a lot of experience. I think we know what it takes. We’re focused on three weeks from now. Everybody’s healthy. We’ll be ready in three weeks.”

Sophomore Scott Brandos showed that he is ready now.

The Huntington Beach native experienced what Dolan called “a breakout race.” Brandos finished second on the team and 41st overall with a time of 24:48. Junior Ramiro Guillen, a transfer from Santa Barbara City College, finished 44th. Junior Chris White and senior J.T. Service also scored for the Gauchos, finishing 61st and 64th, respectively.

On the women’s side, Appenrodt had a typically solid race. Dolan was pleased that Appenrodt came back strong after a subpar race the week before at the Riverside Invitational, where she finished 22nd.

“Katie came back strong,” Dolan said. “She really showed that she is back on track and ready to lead us.”

Sophomore Desiree Leek followed her strong performance at the Riverside meet by finishing 22nd with a time of 22:05. Also scoring for the Gauchos were the Christman sisters, Lauren and Lindsay, who finished six seconds apart from each other, with Lauren finishing in 22:40 and Lindsey in 22:46. Freshman Stephanie Rothstein finished 64th and senior Lisa Dunn cruised in at 69th place.