The UCSB men’s and women’s cross country squads did not give the same winning performances on Saturday at the Stanford Invitational that the Gauchos have been accustomed to this season.
Santa Barbara may have some excuses, though.
UCSB is resting its top seven runners for the nationally visible Notre Dame Invitational this Friday at South Bend, Ind.
Stanford University took the men’s 8K team title, registering 18 points. The Cardinal were led by Ian Dobson, who won the race with a time of 23:46. Santa Barbara’s squad placed fifth with 192 points.
The UCSB women placed 14th overall by securing 350 points. UCLA upset Stanford to take the 6K women’s team title. The Bruins finished with a score of 37. Stanford finished with 56.
The Stanford Invitational was an opportunity for the younger Gauchos to gain experience against elite competition.
“Everyone got a lot of experience; many of the younger people got a chance to race,” UCSB Assistant Coach Jeff Jacobs said. “It’s going to help them get used to a big race situation.”
Freshman Mike Chavez placed 24th (25:11), junior Ben Armel took the 38th spot (25:38), freshman Chris Ashley was 39th (25:38), sophomore Mike Powers placed 45th (25:48) and freshman Stew Harwell rounded out the top five by placing 46th (25:50). Sophomore Ben Berkowitz took 53th (25:56) and freshman Micah Tyhurst placed 54th (25:56).
“For a B-team, the men did well. We showed that we have a lot of depth. They beat schools who had their full rosters intact, and also schools in our conference. It shows we have a bright future for our team,” Jacobs said.
Many of runners for the UCSB women’s team were unfamiliar with the 6K championship distance.
“None of them had run that distance, except Seanna (Martin),” Jacobs said. “It was tougher for them to adjust to the distance.”
Sophomore Seanna Martin was the top Gaucho with 54th (23:06). Freshman Megan Lewis finished 63th (23:17), sophomore Laura Zung placed 70th (23:29), junior Rebecca Zamolo took the 77th spot (23:33) and freshman Hadas Moser was the fifth Gaucho, placing 86th overall (23:45). The sixth and seventh spots were taken by freshmen Whitney Jacobsmeyer, who placed 94th (23:57), while Ariane Burwell took 99th (24:03).
Despite the 14th place finish, the young Gauchos will learn from the race and continue to build confidence and race harder.
“Even though our top seven were not there, we were still racing the top girls from the other teams,” Martin said. “It should prepare us for tougher races later on; it was beneficial to everyone.”