The UC Riverside cross country team traveled north as one of 30 teams set to compete in the Stanford Invitational on Saturday. While neither the men’s or women’s side were able to place inside the top three, both delivered a respectable performance in what was the team’s second-to-last meet before the conference championships in October.
Highlander Faith Makau led the way for the women, placing 16th overall with a time of 21:19.3 that was just over a minute and 12 seconds behind the pace of individual leader, Erin Teschuk (North Dakota). Weslie Totten finished second for UCR (62nd overall) with a time of 22:25.1 while Emily Sanchez placed 83rd overall with a time of 22:40.7 to round out the Highlanders’ top three.
The Highlander women managed to get five of their total six runners in the top 100 out of a field of 256 female participants, placing them squarely in the top 10 as a team at ninth overall. The Highlanders’ cumulative score of 192* was solid, but nonetheless a whopping 153 points behind Invitational host Stanford, who won the event.
As for the men’s side, the team was led by Cody Jordan who placed tenth overall with a time of 24:04.04 that was just less than a minute behind winner Stanford’s Sean McGorty (23:07.0).
This is nothing new for the blue and gold as Jordan has been the key cog for the team with two top three finishes and — when including this latest finish — three in the top 10 over the first three meets of the season. Jordan also earned Big West Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after a first place finish in the season opener.
Despite Jordan’s success, the team needed greater contributions from the rest of their athletes in order to continue what has been a positive season thus far. The team got just that in the form of freshman Solomon Demeku-Ousman who finished 30th overall with a time of 24:31.6 — his second-highest finish on the season.
Rounding out the top three for the Highlander men was Garrett Hernandez, whose time of 25:47.0 placed him 131st overall.
In the end, the Highlander men earned a 13th place finish among the field of 30 teams with a cumulative score of 214. The event-hosting Stanford Cardinal narrowly beat out Chico State (68) with a final score of 63 points to take the win.
So, a respectable performance from the blue and gold, but as is usually the case, the event host showed a superior level of dominance (both due to talent and an overall comfortability on their home course) over its visiting opponents. The Highlanders will look to pull off a similar feat as the Cardinal come October 17, when they host the Highlander Invitational at UCR.
*These scores were calculated for each Division 1 (or 2) team by adding the number where their athlete’s placed among other Division 1 (or 2) opponents. So, the lower, the better.