The UCSB men’s and women’s cross country teams were back on the chase today as they traveled East to the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
“We put a lot of thought into how we set up our schedule to help develop our teams and give them a chance to grow,” said Cody Fleming, the Director of Cross Country and Track and Field. “Today we got in the deep water with some of the best teams in the country. We’ll learn from these races, but this was an invaluable experience for our athletes.”
The women raced first in the top division of the meet, going up against five of the Top 10 teams in the NCAA, including the No. 1 program in the country in NC State. Junior Stina Johansson had the best showing of the day, leading the team with an overall time of 17:22.5. This is the first time she has led the team in a race since transferring from Ventura College.
Coming up behind her for the Gauchos was fellow junior Lauren Lum, who ran a time of 17:27.6. Senior Sarah Chaves and freshman Ava Maier also came in close behind with times of 17:52.1 and 17:54.4, respectively. Chaves jumped six spots to earn that time while Maier passed 12 other runners from her previous split. Rounding out the top five for the women was junior Sarah Auther, who ran an 18:02.3 while running past seven competitors to get there. Ruby Sirota-Foster and Shelby Nelson also made their way across the finish line in this race with respective times of 18:05.2 and 18:10.
The men’s team also raced against some of the best in the country with five of the top 30 teams competing in this race. Freshman Ethan Godsey led the way for his team yet again. The Agoura, California native ran a time of 24:24.1, destroying his 8K time from the first meet of the season by 38 seconds.
Finishing after him was fellow freshman Preston Bowlds, who ended his race with a time of 24:52.5. Two upperclassmen came in behind the freshmen, and they were junior Esteban Magana and senior Brandon Cobain. The two concluded their races in South Bend with times of 25:04.2 and 25:06.9, respectively. Closing out the top five for this meet was freshman Advait Krishnan, who ran a time of 25:24.7. Two other Gauchos came across the finish line as well, and they were sophomore Tomas Mountcastle and freshman Nate Osborn. The underclassmen duo ran times of 25:47.1 and 25:49.3, respectively.
Once the teams are back in Santa Barbara, they will take the next two weeks to prepare for their next race in Stillwater, Ok., where they will compete at the Weis-Crockett Invitational hosted by Oklahoma State as a preparation meet for the NCAA Championships, which will be hosted on the same course in November. The Gauchos will be in Oklahoma for this race on Oct. 15 with races beginning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.