Palo Alto, Calif. - The Gauchos took full advantage of this past weekend's Stanford Invitational to see how they stacked up against some of the best cross country teams in the West Region. With the likes of Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and more, the pair of young squads got a full taste being in a huge cross country corral on the seamlessly neverending loops of the Stanford Golf Course. At the conclusion of the collegiate division, UCSB would take eighth overall out of 19 teams in the women's 6k while the men would take seventh out of 18 teams for 8k.
"Placement wise, we did as expected," remarked Interim Head Coach Darius Terry. "We beat who we were supposed to beat, so we're being consistent in our team performances. Some of our runners weren't having their best days out there but I saw a good number of others step up to the occasion which was nice to see. I can't call it a good day, but I caught glimpses of good moments out there, which is fine for the time being."
The women's race would take off at 9:50 am with an immediate affair brewing between Stanford and Division 2 powerhouse Adams State, keeping the pace hot as soon as the gun went off. Transfer Astrid Rosvall would take full advantage of this early pace by slotting just behind the second leading group within the top 40, slowly weaving her way through the field as the race continued. Coming off the final loop into the homestraight, Rosvall would slide all the way into the top 15, taking 13th overall out of 165 total runners in the field with a time of 21:22.40. Katie Camarena would start further back in the field and employ the same tactics as Rosvall. Though Camarena wasn't firing on all cylinders on the day, she'd still follow through to the end to take 44th place with a 22:14.60 clocking. Behind Camarena, a slight change of the guard took place as a pack of three women from UCSB decided to take charge for the remaining scoring positions with the likes of true freshman Emma Overell and the sophomore pair of Marisa Rodriguez and Jasmine Rippey. Throughout the six kilometer distance, the three ladies were merely an arm's length apart at times employing tactful pack running to keep the Gauchos in the team running. Overell would eventually pull away in the last kilometer to take 65th in 22:44.90, while Rodriguez and Rippey would finish close together in 74th and 75th with times of 22:54.70 and 22:55.90 respectively.
Similar to the women, the men would also start things out quick with an early challenge between Stanford and Adams State's top runners, with UCLA taking Adams State's role of the challenging the Cardinals as the race progressed. Redshirt junior Daniel Mountcastle, who was only the fifth scorer two weeks ago at the Lagoon Open, took charge early with teammate Nick Randazzo behind the Pac-12 dual in the top half of the field. With Randazzo beginning to fall back after the five kilometer mark, Mountcastle would trudge onward with sophomore Brian Schulz taking up the No. 2 scoring position at that point in the race, taking a more conservative approach in the early goings in contrast to his usual aggressive front running style. At the finish, an exhausted Mountcastle would drive hard to the tape to take 26th overall out of the 184 man field with a time of 24:58.20, with Schulz coming in shortly after looking stronger than ever with his finishing kick in 35th with a 25:10.30 clocking. Behind Mountcastle and Schulz, a small breakthrough would be taking place with junior Jack Rose scoring within the top five for the first time this season, taking 62nd with a time of 25:40.80. A winded Randazzo would do his best to stay in contention to help the team effort by finishing in 64th in 25:46.80, while true freshman Jack Landgraf would round off the team scoring by finishing in 76th place in 26:08.30, making it three meets in a row where the true freshman has been in the top five.
The Gauchos will be heading back up north one last time at the Bronco Invitational hosted by Santa Clara University on October 13th before the post-season takes off. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.