September 29, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- As hoped, the Stanford Cross Country Invitational proved to be an exciting outing for the Mustang men. Toeing the line with the likes of premier distance programs such as Stanford University, Adams State, Chico State, University of San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Irvine, as well as #1 NAIA ranked Southern Oregon, The Master’s College men held their own among mostly NCAA division I & II competition. Finishing 17th as a team out of 29 of some of the nation’s best programs, TMC put together a good race.
Yet in spite of their good showing, the Master’s squad is hungry for more. “We raced well today, but not great,” commented TMC Head Coach Zach Schroeder. “I’m not disappointed with how we performed, but I know we can do better. We had a few guys race spectacular today, and a few just ok. When we put all the pieces together, we could be very good.”
Stealing the show was Mustang senior John Gilbertson, turning the heads of all spectators present as he crossed the line in 1st place. Three weeks ago Gilbertson opened up his senior year by winning the UC Irvine Invitational, followed by a win at the inaugural meet of the Mustang Challenge. Today, Gilbertson made it his third victory in a row.
Settling in to the front pack the first mile of the race, Gilbertson waited patiently to make his move. Running along for the majority of the 8k course with a tight lead pack of runners from Stanford and Adams State, Gilbertson separated himself during the final mile to win with a time of 24:07. “Winning a prestigious meet like this is no small thing,” Schroeder said. “This is a big deal for Gilbertson, and a special moment for our program. It’s always fun to hear ‘The Master’s College’ over the loud speaker at a big time race like this. I’m stoked for Gilby. He’s planning on continuing to compete post-collegiately; hopefully this win will get him some good looks.”
Finishing second for the Mustangs today was David Eller, putting together a very strong race and new personal record of 26:13. “David looked incredibly good today, and I know he will race better still as the season marches on,” said Schroeder. Following closely behind was sophomore John Hurd in 26:32. After a great race last weekend, Hurd continues to look strong and promises to continue to progress. Completing the score for the Mustangs today was Matthew Crichton in 26:48 and Anthony Pizzo in 26:50. Camden McAlister finished 6th for the squad in 26:58, with freshman Ryan Freeman not far behind. Finishing 7th for the squad, Freeman had a breakout run, setting a new personal record of 27:10 – over a minute better than his previous best.
Returning home the 2012 Stanford Invitational champion, Gilbertson and the Mustangs Cross County squad already have their eyes set on his next competition in Santa Clara at the Bronco Invitational. Three races down and four to go, Gilbertson will look to finish the season undefeated and pull the squad to their highest national finish yet. If Gilbertson can continue his streak, TMC will be favored to win their third GSAC title in row at the conference championship meet just over a month away.