SANTA CLARITA — Westmont’s cross country teams were back in action Saturday in Santa Clarita, where they competed in The Master’s Invitational in Central Park.
As a team, the women took fifth place in the collegiate invite event with two finishers in the top-20, and fourth in the collegiate open, with four runners in the top-20. The men took seventh place in the collegiate invite with their highest finisher coming in 11th.
Leading the way for the women’s team during the invitational was Anneline Breytenbach, who finished the race 11th overall with a time of 18:11.6. Behind Breytenbach was Kari Anema, who finished 18th overall in the race with a time of 18:29.6.
Coming in 24th overall was Madden Hundley with a time of 18:43.7, followed by Abigail Hundley who finished in 33rd with a time of 19:02.1. Rounding out the top for the women’s team was Callie Guthrie who completed the race in 19:14.2.
“The women’s team ran well against nationally ranked teams The Master’s and Embry Riddle,” said coach Lindsey Connolly. “Callie Guthrie ran a valiant race to close up our top five. The 1-5 team spread of 1:03 is a big improvement from two weeks ago, showing that the runners are working together as they move up throughout the race. “
During the open, Abigail Edwards finished first for the club with a time of 21:22.7, followed by freshman Lauren Wanner with a time of 22:17.5. Lauren’s sister Ana Wanner finished two places later with a time of 22:31.2, and freshman Emily Wheeler came in soon after with a time of 23:12.5.
Mags Holleran rounded out the first-five with a time of 23:30.7.
“This was the first race for the majority of the team, and there was a determined effort across the board. Despite being in a later race and much warmer temperatures, the women showed impressive grit and their efforts were inspirational to their teammates.
On the men’s side of things, Zola Sokhela was the lone Warrior to finish in the top 20. The reigning two-time Outdoor Track and Field national champion (800, 1500) completed his first collegiate cross country race in 25:09.7, good enough for a 12th place finish.
Daniel Rubin finished 30th in the race with a time of 26:04.09, while Caleb Mettler was the next Warrior to cross the finish line with a time of 26:29.1. Rounding out the top-five for Westmont was Adam King with a time of 26:38.9, and Ryan Daedler with a time of 27:18.2.
“The men were short-handed, but nonetheless remained competitive,” said Head Coach Russell Smelley. “The team ran credibly enough to be considered for national ranking, and when all are healthy, I think they are capable of being a top-20 NAIA team.”
“I’d also like to give a special nod to Simeon Michelson, who finished his first race in more than two years after a long spell of rehab to manage his foot issues.”
Michelson finished his first race in two years with a time of 34:38.3.
Both teams are back in action on Oct. 9 in Claremont, when they head down to compete in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.