San Francisco, CA - The Saint Mary's men's and women's cross country team had an impressive evening at the Gator Invitational, hosted by San Francisco State at the Speedway Meadow course in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. The women had an impressive evening, finishing second overall with a total team time of 23:33, while the men finished seventh with a team time of 27:32.
Saint Mary's women continue their improved season by having seven of 10 personal bests at the SFSU Gator Invite. The lady Gaels had six women run under 24 minutes for 6k, a first for the college. First-year runner Maria Ahlqvist led the team with a time of 23:25, a 33 second improvement from her race two weeks ago.
"Our strategy was to keep our top six together through two miles," said head coach Marty Kinsey. "We held Tess and Rosie back today to help with our 3-6 runners and it paid off in a big way. Today we saw seven women set PR's and the result was a solid second place finish. "
Alicia Doohan was second for the Gaels, third freshman overall, in a time of 23:28, followed by Tess Descher who helped tempo the pace in a time of 23:33. Natalie Sojka followed in 23:38, then Rosie Smith who also helped tempo the pace rounded out the top five in a time of 23:40.
"We are very proud of our women's job today, they had a plan and they executed it to perfection," said assistant coach Mark Carberry.
On the men's side, Rob Van Wyck continued his impressive junior season by placing eighth overall (25:48) out of the 146 man field. "Robb is very tuned in to his body. He's able to go out strong without letting up and runs with guts in the final sections of a race. Because of this, he continues to improve," said Kinsey.
The men placed seventh in the 14-team field and improved their overall team time from the Stanford Invitational by two minutes and 30 seconds. "We had some solid efforts today as well as some challenges. Although we've been improving as a team, we still have a good deal of work to do before conference," added coach Carberry.
The Gaels will return to action on Saturday, October 16. When the Gaels travel to Baylands Regional Park to participate in the Bronco Invitational hosted by Santa Clara.