And They're Off!
September 8, 2012
IRVINE, Calif. - The Mustang men's cross country team opened its season Saturday at the Adidas/UC Irvine Invitational, hosted by UCI at the Anteater Recreation Center.
It was 75 degrees when the gun went off to start the men’s race at 9:00 AM. While it was the Mustangs' first race of the season, TMC’s performance was not quite what was hoped for. With the exception of several notable individual performances, the squad fell short of the team performance desired—and which it is confident it will provide by the end of the season.
Defending his meet title for the second year in a row, TMC’s John Gilbertson (Saugus, CA) handily won the race in 24:41, defeating a field of 229 competitors. Coach Zach Schroeder’s race plan was for “Gilby” to win the meet, not necessarily break the course record set by Gilbertson the previous year (24:24). After creating significant separation from the rest of the field, the senior cruised to an easy victory. Running a conservative effort early in the season, Gilbertson will look to come out and run big at the Mustang Challenge two weeks from today.
Anthony Pizzo (Canyon Country, CA) also raced conservatively, hoping to lead the rest of the Mustangs to fast times and a tight pack in spots 2-5. Running as a group through the first several miles of the race, Pizzo pulled away from his teammates when they fell off-pace halfway in to the competition. Pizzo went on to finish 10th overall.
With off days from several of TMC’s upperclassmen, freshman Daniel Eller (Los Angeles, CA) stepped up and filled spot No. 4 for the team, posting a time of 27:12 in an outstanding effort for the newcomer’s first 8k race.
The men finished fifth out of 19 teams comprised of NCAA Division I, II, III squads and NAIA competition. Coach Schroeder commented, “We didn’t have the day I would have expected to see, but it’s our first race back after months away from competition. A few of our top guys struggled today. I’m confident we’ll look like a much stronger team two weeks from now.”
On September 22nd, the Mustangs look forward to hosting the Mustang Challenge, their first home cross country invitational. The meet will take place at Central Park in Santa Clarita. All but two members of the GSAC will be in attendance, along with Loyola Marymount University, the University of La Verne, Fresno Pacific, and College of the Canyons. Get ready for an exciting race on the Mustangs’ new “home course”! The 2012 cross country season is underway…