MORAGA, Calif. -- By setting a Saint Mary's record in the women's 5-kilometer race at Saturday's Bronco Invitational, Cristina Garcia found herself squarely in the middle of a day of firsts for the Gaels cross country team.
For her performance, Garcia has been named Saint Mary's Student-Athlete of the Week.
Garcia stopped the clock in 17 minutes, 38 seconds, putting herself at the head of Saint Mary's all-time list at 5 kilometers. Her time broke the old mark of 17:42 shared by Tess Granneman (2010) and Allegra Porter (2002).
"Cristy had a plan to be patient for a mile and then put the hammer down the next two," Saint Mary's head coach Marty Kinsey said. "She has been looking pretty relaxed all year. I was hopeful she could get into the 17:30's, but we just needed a solid plan. She excited it well, beat some people that she never had and put her self a lot closer to some of the top women in the conference."
Garcia's effort also benefited the team. She led the way as the Gaels lowered their average team time record to 18:11, eight seconds faster than the previous mark set in 2010.
Of course, Garcia's performance didn't come out of nowhere. Consistent improvement throughout the season has led to this point, and has Kinsey eager to see what she can do at the West Coast Conference Championships in Portland on Oct. 27.
"Cristy is hands down the hardest worker we have. She is the perfect example of what we are trying to build here at the college," Kinsey said. "She approaches each day with a focus on being the absolute best. It's clear from core workouts to speed days to recovery runs, that she is focused and driven. She has turned herself into quite a leader of our young team. She has a great attitude too and it is a privilege to be her coach."