Sacramento State cross country competed at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale on Saturday, with the women’s team finishing fifth and the men’s team placing 19th.
Jacob Huston and Chloe Berlioux were once again the team’s top finishers. Berlioux finished the women’s 6K in a time of 20:32.5, good for sixth place out of 172 racers. Huston completed the men’s 8K in 24:55.4, placing 81st overall among 182 competitors.
Berlioux’s time represented a personal best. Though records in cross country can be difficult to gauge due to the differences between courses, Berlioux finished the 6K almost a minute faster than her 21:26 finish at Stanford in September.
“I felt good today and I know it was a little bit faster of a race,” Berlioux said. “I held on through the middle and tried to get in the top three. I didn’t quite get there, but it was a good effort.”
Sac State had four women in the top 50. Amanda Garcia’s time of 21:11.9 secured her 29th place. Veronica Stinnett, completing the course in 21:37.7, and Emily Johnston, running the 6K in 21:39.6, took 47th and 49th place, respectively.
The Hornets finished 5th among 21 women’s teams with a score of 171. Oklahoma State took first with a score of 82, and Cal Poly came in second at 92.
Coach Joe Eby said the women’s team executed their game plan better than they did at their last full race at Stanford.
“I was really pleased with how the ladies raced,” Eby said. “I think a couple weeks down the road we can run even a little bit better.”
Berlioux noted the course was a fast one, and that the pace was quicker than the team was used to.
“We knew the course a little bit better this time, we studied it,” Berlioux said. “I think everybody was mentally prepared as well as physically, and all the work we put in the past couple weeks really came together today.”
Things did not go as well for Sac State’s men’s team, who finished 19th out of 23 teams with a score of 474. Oklahoma State took first place with a score of 30, with four runners in the top five.
“The guys, it’s tough to say, it was just a little bit of a rough day,” Eby said.
Sam Scheuer took 98th place after running the 8K in 25:14.6. Tyler Sickler had a time of 25:24.7, taking 109th place. Mac Harvey’s time of 25:33.0 earned him 119th place, and Eric Molina crossed the line in 25:46.8 to take 135th.
Recovering from an injury, fifth-year senior Zach Kaylor finished with a time of 26:28.6 in the first meet he has run this season, placing 166th.
According to Eby, three of the team’s top seven runners are dealing with injuries. Scheuer was running fresh off an injury and senior Drew Azevedo did not compete due to a back issue.
Even team leader Huston ran hurt, dealing with a hamstring injury caused Tuesday by an improper warmup.
“I [feel] terrible about it, to be honest,” Huston said “Last year I went about 25 seconds faster.”
Huston also mentioned that the fast pace at the beginning of the race hurt his time.
“I think the team is also in the same position as me,” Huston said. “I think that we weren’t ready for that pace at all.”
Huston said that he hopes to help get the team on track by pushing the pace at Wednesday’s workout, which will consist of mile repeats, in order to prepare the team for conference finals.
For the men’s team, Eby noted a need for improvement and for speedy recoveries for the injured runners.
“As a whole, we’ve just got to get better,” Eby said. “As we said in our team meeting after, it’s one of those deals where I think we did about what we could.”
Sac State’s next race will be Nov. 1 at Big Sky Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota.