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The Cal Poly cross country teams made a good showing this weekend, with the men’s team taking first and the women’s team taking fourth place in the Cal Poly Invitational.

The event, held Saturday morning, brought teams from across the country to compete at the Fairbanks Cross Country Course, near Cuesta College.

Sophomore Rachel Valliere led Cal Poly’s women’s team through the 5-kilometer race, placing 10th overall.

“With 1,000 yards to go, I made a move and kicked in as hard as I could, trying to pass some people on the switchbacks at the end,” Valliere said. “We started off relaxed and got a good lead pack in the beginning, got in a rhythm and stayed together.”

For the men’s team, senior Andy Coughlin was the high placer, coming in second overall.

The team held six of the leading 10 scorers in its 8-kilometer race, with Coughlin, Matt Johnsrud, Nathan Brassmassery, Jeff Lease, Matt Blanchard and Keith Hankins leading the way.

“It’s a pretty tough course,” senior Tom Phelps said. “There are a lot of hills, especially early on, so you really have to manage your energy, and then go out a little more relaxed.”

Being the host of an invitational meet also has its advantages. Playing on one’s home field “is a little bit easier than being out on the road,” Phelps said. “You get to sleep in your own bed and you know the area more.”

Former Cal Poly standout and current student assistant coach Ben Bruce won the men’s race. Bruce, running for ASICS, set a new course record of 25:42 minutes.

Stehanie Rothstein, running unattached, won the women’s race with a time of 17:22 minutes.

Pre-National Invitational

While the women’s team and the men’s “B” team competed back home, the men’s “A” team was at the Pre-National Invitational in Indiana.

The Mustangs finished 11th, led by redshirt freshman Alex Dunn. Dunn finished 50th in a time of 24:35. Matt Johnsrud followed close behind to finish 54th in 24:37.

The Mustangs entered the race ranked No. 10 in the nation. That may change, however. Nine of the 10 teams that finished ahead of the Mustangs were nationally ranked.

Stanford won the men’s competition with 89 points. Brigham Young University was next with 174 and Georgetown had 222. Cal Poly was 11th of the 33 competing teams with 361 points.

Dunn and Johnsrud scored along with Jameson Mora (78th), Troy Swier (84th), and Brian Baker (25:03). Luke Llamas and Brandon Collins finished 113th and 150th, respectively.

Josh Rohatisky of BYU won the individual title with a time of 23:31.

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