XC: Moreno, Guijarro lead Gauchos at Stanford Invite

Palo Alto – After two early season races and a brief training stint up at Mammoth, it appears the UCSB men’s cross country team is finding its identity on the course. At the 41st Annual Stanford Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, the Gaucho men put together their most complete racing effort of the season, taking second overall with 74 points.

In a close team finish, the top three teams were separated by only three points. Washington State was the eventual winner, recording 73 team points while Stanford took third with 75 points.

On the women’s side, Dani Moreno led the way for the Gauchos, running in her familiar No. 1 position. Moreno placed sixth in the collegiate invitational, pacing a 10th place team finish for the Gauchos. It was a challenging race for the UCSB women but one filled with growth as Christine Cooperstein was back in action for the first time this season and for the first time this year the Gauchos put two freshman in their scoring top-five.

Men’s Results

Washington State 73
Stanford 75
Cal Poly 105
Univ. San Francisco 174

Head coach Pete Dolan was impressed with his men’s performance. “The guys did what they thought they could do and didn’t do at UC Riverside. They were tough minded.”

Bryan Guijarro shot to the lead pack from the sound of the gun and stayed there for most of the race. He placed fifth with a 23:40 effort over the 8,000m course. For Guijarro it was an 18 second cross country PR and an early confidence boost after running point with a strong West Regional field.

“Guijarro was just fearless.” said Dolan.

Running close behind, were Anthony Ortolan and Shyan Vaziri in 9th and 10th respectively. Ortolan has been familiar with the No. 2 scoring position for the Gauchos as this is his fourth straight race in the spot. Ortolan finished in 23:54, another rock solid showing by the junior from Pleasant Hill, CA. Vaziri at No. 3 has become a familiar sight near the front of the cross countrypeloton. Vaziri record a 23:55 finish, running side-by-side with Ortolan.

“Those two men ran strong. They put themselves into the race early. Shyan is showing he’s not just a 1,500m specialist, he is a great cross country runner as well.” said Dolan.

Rounding out the No. 4 and No. 5 scoring positions for the Gauchos were Bryce Rausa in 19th and Anthony Monroy at 31st. Rausa is clawing his way back into the line-up after an early season injury setback. Rausa finished in 24:24. Monroy recorded a five second 8,000m PR in 24:42. Last years 15th place Big West finisher, Monroy is showing he can provide a strong punch for the Gauchos to round out the scoring five.

Women’s Results

Stanford 71
UC Davis 94
Cal Poly 117
Loyola Marymount 118
Washington State 137
10th* UCSB 256

Dani Moreno took the reins for the Gaucho women yet again, placing sixth in 21:06. Moreno established herself up with the lead pack but took a fall in the middle of the race, recovering enough to get back near the leaders.

Running in the No. 2 spot for the first time in her UCSB cross country career was Sarah Schreckat 45th. Schreck finished in 22:32. Running in No. 3 and No. 4 for the Gauchos were a pair of freshman in Sophie Hartley and Jenna Hinkle. Hartley was 62nd with a 22:53 performance. Hinkle was 69th with 23:01. Running in the No. 5 spot for the Gauchos was Maxine Goyette in 74th. Goyette covered the 6,000m course in 23:11.

“Dani looked great. Our two freshman ran well. It was a tense race. We have three big races in a row coming up so we’re going to get refocused and make sure we’re ready.” said Dolan.

The Gauchos will be back in action at Pre-Nationals in Terra Haute, Ind. on October 18th. They will then head to the Titan Invitational in Fullerton on Friday, Oct. 24th before heading to UC Riverside for the Big West Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 1st.