Credit: Ian Baker | Cal Poly Athletics, Courtesy 2022

Cal Poly cross country split up their team and traveled to two separate meets on Friday, Sept. 30, turning in impressive performances at the Joe Piane Invitational and the Pacific Collegiate Invitational.

Joe Piane Invitational at Notre Dame

Cal Poly cross country’s top runners took the trip to Notre Dame to compete in the Joe Piane Invitational on Friday, Sept. 30.

As a team, the men secured seventh place in the five-mile Blue race, while the women finished the 5K Gold race in second place, an impressive finish against some of the top teams in the country.

Sophomore Julia Heckey placed fourth overall with a 17:06.1 5K time, one of seven Mustang women inside the top 30. 

Following Heckey in the top 30 was sophomore Carissa Buchholz (17:25.8, 12th), freshman Tatiana Cornejo (17:30.3, 13th), redshirt junior Amanda Olla (17:40, 19th), graduate Sydnie Rivas (17:46.9, 23rd), sophomore Nina St. John (17:48.1, 24th) and redshirt junior Misty Diaz (17:51.9, 29th).

This performance was enough to vault Cal Poly into second place with 71 points, one point behind Nebraska, a top-10 team in the Midwest Region. 

The men, meanwhile, had three stand out runners who placed in the top 30. Redshirt junior Xian Shively finished 25th with a time of 23:54, graduate Jake Ritter placed 27th at 23:54.7 and 28th place went to sophomore Aidan McCarthy, whose time was 23:58. 

The men’s team beat out the 27th-best team in the nation in Michigan, beating the Wolverines by 25 points to take seventh place. 

After this race against some of the best talent in the nation, the women’s team is ranked No. 14 in the West Region while the men currently sit at No. 9 in the West.

Pacific Collegiate Invitational

At the Micke Grove Golf Course in Lodi, CA, the men’s team overpowered the rest of the field with six runners in the top-nine finishers, scoring 21 more team points than the second-place Fresno Pacific in the 8K race. 

Redshirt junior John Bennett led the way with an overall individual first-place run with a time of  24:21.9, his best finish as a Mustang. 

Following him was sophomore Godebo Chapman (24:45.7) in third place, redshirt sophomore Cayden Hein (24:50.5) in fourth, redshirt freshman Jake Richardson (25:11.5) in sixth, redshirt sophomore Emmanuel Guzman (25:21.3) in eighth and redshirt freshman Spencer Pickren (25:22.8) in ninth.

The women found themselves in a battle with Saint Mary’s University Gaels for the 6K race title. The two teams finished tied with 45 points, but the Gaels won on a tiebreaker because they had three racers within the top-five finishers compared to Cal Poly’s two. 

Redshirt freshman Isabel Sanchez led the women with a third-place finishing time of 22:06.8 to earn a career-best finish. Freshman Kaylee Elliott secured fifth (22:08.9) in her collegiate debut and redshirt sophomore Kaia Hoak (22:18.0) took eighth. Freshmen Lara Carrion and Emma McCain placed 13th (22:33.1) and 16th (22:38.4), respectively.

The next meets for both teams will be on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Santa Clara University for the Bronco Invitational and Virginia University for the XC23 Invitational.