At the 39th annual UC Riverside Invitational, the Long Beach State cross country team had three athletes finish with personal bests at the UCR Agricultural Operations Course, which will also host the Big West Conference Championship in November.
The women placed eighth out of 19 programs and were led by seniors Alyssa Allen, Julie Vargas and freshman Maggie Bauer. All three ended the day with personal bests in the women’s invitational 6K with Allen at 21:35.22, Vargas at 21:54.24 and Bauer at 21:59.88.
Bauer was able to place 56th out of over 160 athletes, despite the fact that this was her first time moving up from a 5K to 6K.
“[Maggie Bauer] is just learning”, head coach Shawn Winget said, “[It] doesn’t seem like much going from 5K to 6K, but that’s an extra thousand meters and three and a half minutes of running, so it can be significant. She’s taking everything in and she’s not scared to stick her nose in there with Allen and Vargas.”
The invitational portion of the event limited each program to nine athletes, with the rest running in the open portion of the event. The women used the open event to run athletes like senior Kelsie Newman, who is coming off an injury, or other athletes that may have needed a change of pace, as the women’s open was a 5K instead of a 6K.
“Watching the race, I wasn’t ecstatic,” Winget said, “but when I got the results, I thought we had a really good day. The top three girls PR’d so you can’t ask for anymore than that.”
The men landed at 11th out of 24 programs in the men’s invitational 8K and were led by sophomore Raymon Ornelas at 25:13.16 and junior Enrique Villa at 25:44.34.
The men, however, did not enjoy the same success the women did at UC Riverside.
“Top to bottom with the men, we had a really down day,” Winget said. “The mileage that we put in last week just beat them up and when everyone runs tired, it’s something with the training. It was not our best performance.”
Winget said the heat played a factor as the warmer weather hindered some potential, but ultimately this point of the season for the team always sees a bit of a drop.
“In my 20-plus years,” Winget said, “weeks four, five and six are always a little bit hairy because we’re a month into training and two weeks into school, so it gets a little crazy with everything that’s happening and it piles on top of them.”
On the plus side for the team, they have no competitions scheduled until October 19, and will have a month of preparation time.
“We’ve got four weeks where we can just train, get as fit as possible and not have to worry about backing down for a race,” Winget said.
The cross country team will compete at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational held at the Baylands Regional Park in Sunnyvale, Oct. 19.