Women Capture Second in Gold Race, Men Earn Seventh in Blue at Joe Piane Invitational
The Mustang women captured second in the 5K Gold race, while the Cal Poly men secured seventh out of the 21 schools that competed in the 5-mile Blue race, the meet’s highest division.
For the second straight meet, sophomore Julia Heckey set the pace for the women, securing fourth overall with a 5K time of 17:06.1. At the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 17, Heckey ran a personal-best 6K time to take 11th, and she continued her impressive start to the season Friday.
“Julia did a great job leading the way and competed very well the entire race,” women’s cross country head coach Michelle Chewens said. “She took a nice step forward today and will continue to build on that in the coming weeks.”
Heckey was one of seven Mustangs that placed inside the top 30 individually. Carissa Buchholz (17:25.8) finished 12th, freshman Tatiana Cornejo (17:30.3, pictured above) 13th, Amanda Olla (17:40.0) 19th, Sydnie Rivas (17:46.9) 23rd, Nina St. John (17:48.1) 24th and Misty Diaz (17:51.9) 29th.
The performance allowed Cal Poly (71 points) to finish just 1 point behind first-place Nebraska, ranked No. 10 in the Midwest Region in the latest USTFCCCA poll, and 4 points in front of Montana State.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 14 in the West Region, appear to be finding their stride with the Big West Championships less than a month away.
“The women showed up and competed well against the field in the Gold race,” Chewens said. “We had a tight battle with Nebraska and Montana State going the entire time, which was exciting to watch unfold.”
The Mustang men were led by three runners that placed inside the top 30 individually — redshirt junior Xian Shively (23:54.0) in 25th, graduate student Jake Ritter (23:54.7) in 27th and sophomore Aidan McCarthy (23:58.0) in 28th. Their performances helped Cal Poly go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the nation as the Mustangs finished behind four teams ranked inside the top 25 in the latest USTFCCCA poll (No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 22 Montana State, No. 24 Butler and No. 25 Alabama) and ahead of No. 27 Michigan.
This was the first meet of the season for Shively and Ritter, but they didn’t show any rust.
“We were excited to add Xian and Jake back into the mix and I thought those two ran very well for their first outing of the season,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Ryan Vanhoy said. “Aidan ran a bit tentative early on, but closed well in the last mile and helped bring down the scoring for us late in the race. I’m confident they, along with the rest of our group, will continue to improve as we go.”
The Irish won the Blue race with 81 points, while Cal Poly (192) finished 25 points in front of the eighth-place Wolverines (217). Will Fallini-Haas (24:13.6) crossed the line in 51st, Anthony Guerra (24:18.9) came home 61st and Spencer Thurman (24:30.3) took 79th.
After being unranked in the USTFCCCA West Region poll during the first two weeks of the rankings, the Cal Poly men’s team jumped to No. 9 in the Week 3 USTFCCCA West Region poll released this past Monday. At Notre Dame, the Mustangs proved they were worthy of that distinction, finishing in front of Boise State (ranked No. 8 in the West Region).
“I thought our men’s team did a nice job navigating a big field and competed strongly against some of the top programs in the NCAA,” Vanhoy said. “We held our own and beat a few ranked teams in the process. Our goal was to finish in the top five today and we ended up 12 points away from that. We gained some very valuable experience running in this type of meet that we will use moving forward this season and beyond.”
The rest of the Cal Poly cross country team competes in the Pacific Collegiate Invitational in Lodi later today. The men’s 8K starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the women’s 6K at 6:15 p.m.
CAL POLY RESULTS
Men’s 5-mile Blue
25, Xian Shively, 23:54.0
27, Jake Ritter, 23:54.7
28, Aidan McCarthy, 23:58.0
51, Will Fallini-Haas, 24:13.6
61, Anthony Guerra, 24:18.9
79, Spencer Thurman, 24:30.3
111, Erik Luu, 24:44.5
149, Colton Swinth, 25:15.1
158, Rory Smail, 25:26.0
Women’s 5K Gold
4, Julia Heckey, 17:06.1
12, Carissa Buchholz, 17:25.8
13, Tatiana Cornejo, 17:30.3
19, Amanda Olla, 17:40.0
23, Sydnie Rivas, 17:46.9
24, Nina St. John, 17:48.1
29, Misty Diaz, 17:51.9
79, Riley Cash, 18:52.8