SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's and women's track & field teams took to the oval Saturday at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational for what turned out to be another historic day for the Gaels.
Opening the day was the women's 5000 meter race, where sophomore Cristina Garcia placed seventh overall in her collegiate track & field best time of 18:13.87. That mark was good enough for fourth on the SMC all-time list in just her first race back from an early season injury.
Senior Erin Burke, finishing 11th in 19:06.76, destroyed her previous personal best by over 40 seconds. Also racing for the women on the day were freshmen Carina Novell (1500m - 22nd overall - 5:01.34) and freshman Katie Alioto (3K Steeplechase - 5th overall - 12:10.61).
Following the women's race was the men's 5000m. Entered in the race were redshirt junior Rajpaul Pannu, running unattached, and sophomore Nick Ellingson, fresh off his 3000m school record set at the opening season Quad Meet.
Pannu held pace for all of the race allowing Ellingson to draft off a personal best pace. In the end, Pannu would take the win (his second in two weeks) running a new personal best of 14:36.21. But it was Ellingson that would lay claim to the new Saint Mary's College school record (14:46.64) with his third-place finish.
The men's 1500m featured three Gaels, with Zach Hansen (4:04.71) finishing 16th, Gilbert Mundo (4:05.78) finishing 18th and Cormac McCullaugh (4:06.35) finishing 20th. Mundo and McCullaugh came back to double in the men's 800m, running 1:58.83 and 2:00.71, respectively. Trent Newquist, running unattached in his first collegiate race, placed 20th overall in 2:02.49.
The final event of the meet was the men's 3K Steeplechase which featured redshirt junior Trevor Araujo, running unattached. Racing very strategically, Araujo progressively moved up throughout the race to finish second in his best career season opener with a time of 9:50.79.
The Gaels will be back in action at San Francisco State on Saturday for the Johnny Mathis Invitational.