Tritons compete in Stanford Invitational

    The UCSD men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled north last Saturday to compete in the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto.

    Former Triton and UCSD Male Athlete of the Year James Nielson also ran in the race as part of Stanford’s team because he is currently taking advantage of his final year of eligibility while working toward a graduate degree.

    UCSD cross country coach Ted Van Arsdale had no reservations about seeing his former runner race against him.

    “”I’m excited to watch him race anytime,”” Van Arsdale said. “”The reality is he was ready to move up. There’s no a better place for him to be.””

    Competing in a field of about 200 runners and against the likes of UC Davis, University of Utah, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University Fullerton, UC Riverside, Long Beach State and Cal State University San Marcos, the Tritons placed 18th out of 21 entering teams.

    “”[The competition] was the best we’ve seen so far this year,”” Van Arsdale said. “”With the possible exception of the UC Irvine Invitational, which didn’t have as many teams in it.””

    The men’s cross country team competed with its B group because the A team stayed home to train for the upcoming conference race.

    “”The [A group] ran a 12-miler Saturday on a constant descending pace, running faster and faster and they have to stay with each other,”” Van Arsdale said. “”What we’ve been attempting to do is race at a maximum velocity and work on pack dynamics.””

    Van Arsdale was satisfied with his runners’ performances.

    “”The group we took did a terrific job of competing,”” he said. “”We beat the Division III schools and two [California Collegate Athletics Association] conference rivals.””

    Individually, sophomore Devin Callister had the top time for UCSD, coming in 93rd overall with a time of 27:33 for the 8,000-meter course.

    “”He’s just tough,”” Van Arsdale said. “”Last year he ran the 10,000-meter event for track and had the fastest freshman time. [Today] he ran an outstanding progression — he started off at a good pace and increased his speed.””

    Junior Jason Stone, who was named Triton racer of the week for his performance, was the next Triton to finish. He timed in at 28:15 to come in 114th. Freshman Luke Sigmon was just behind Stone at 116th with a time of 28:18. Sophomore Mike Lord, sophomore John Morrison, freshman Mike Daly and sophomore Adam Miller all placed within the top 130 finishers for UCSD.

    Both Callister and Stone earned a spot on the UCSD conference team with their performances in the invitational.

    Stanford won the team competition easily and earned a total of 36 points while the second place team, Utah State University, was 17 points behind with 53. UC Santa Barbara, University of Utah and UC Davis rounded out the top five finishing teams.

    On the other side of the course, the Triton women competed in a short course of 4,000 meters and were led by senior Mary Peate, who ran the course in 15:02 to finish 67th overall.

    “”Mary’s doing a very good job this year balancing her total development,”” Van Arsdale said. “”She’s made some dramatic improvements both in the classroom and with the team.””

    Freshman Lindsey Young was the second Triton to finish the course, coming in 77th with a time of 15:21.

    “”Lindsey Young is a freshman with a mission,”” Van Arsdale said. “”She’s our No. 2 runner right now.””

    Sophomore Julie Pope came in third for UCSD, finishing the course in 15:49 to place 96th overall.

    The Tritons came in 17th place as a team with 431 points, finishing 391 points behind overall winner Stanford which ended with 40 points.

    Freshman Stanford runner Alicia Craig was the individual winner for the women’s course, clocking in with an impressive time of 12:40.

    Unfortunately for the Tritons, freshman Cassandra Cooper severely sprained her ankle during warm-ups for the event and will most likely miss the rest of the season.

    The Tritons will travel next weekend to the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Penn.

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