Westmont College took a frosh approach to its season cross country debut in last weekend’s The Master’s Invitational at Santa Clarita’s Central Park.
Freshman Kacie Kwan won Race 2, finishing the women’s 5K in a time of 20:22.2, to help the Warriors finish second as a team. Caleb Mettler, also a freshman, ran the second-fastest 8K in Race 2 (27:30.2) to help Westmont win the men’s team competition.
To adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, the men’s and women’s meets were each split into two races. Westmont competed against Arizona Christian, Hope International and San Diego Christian.
“It was youth day for the Warriors,” coach Russell Smelley said. “Kacie Kwan left no doubt she was out for the win as she led from start to finish in a solid time of 20:22.2.
“She was relaxed throughout the race with a beautiful running stride and all smiles.”
The top three finishers for the Westmont women were all freshmen. Gretchen Scherrei followed Kwan by placing third in a time of 21:27.3. Jenae McInnes finished sixth (22:28.2). Abigail Stadtlander (ninth place, 22:49.4) and Abigail Edwards (10th place, 23:00.4) rounded out Westmont’s top-five.
The Warriors’ team score of 29 was just three points behind first-place Arizona Christian’s 26 in Race 2.
In the men’s competition, Westmont’s Mettler and fellow freshman Mitch Groff finished second and third, respectively. They were followed in fourth place by sophomore Adam King and in sixth by senior Chris Hanessian. Freshman Ben Reasner closed out the Warriors’ top five with a seventh-place effort.
The Warriors’ team score of 21 was 16 points better than second-place Arizona Christian.
All of Westmont’s tune-up meets for the 2020 GSAC Championships will be against conference opposition.
Its next competition will be a four-way meet at Westmont Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m.