Amidst damp conditions, the University of Redlands men's and women's cross country teams faced a tough challenge at the UC Riverside Highlander Invitational on Saturday. In the mix with teams from all divisions, the men and women each snagged 13th-place finishes in the 8k and 5k runs, respectively.
For the second week in a row, senior Joseph Esparza (Arcata, CA) paced the Bulldogs as the top runner. Carrying his momentum from his season-best last week, Esparza used a 5:05.8 average mile time to improve his mark with a 25:20.21 run. As the second-fastest NCAA Division III runner in the race, he finished in 29th place.
Finishing just .56 seconds behind, sophomore Tucker Cargile (Denver, CO) showed a sizable improvement from last week, as he turned in a time of 25:21.41 for 30th overall. Also building on last week's race, senior Benjamin Casey (Highland Park, IL) took down his previous career-best time by running a 26:13.56 on Saturday.
Career records continued to fall for the Bulldogs, as sophomore Matthew Casey (Highland Park, IL) stopped the clock in 27:01.71. Senior Drew Kargol (Aiea, HI) and sophomore Quentin Olive-Larson (Fort Collins, CO) uncorked the fastest times of their career at 27:09.59 and 27:11.00, respectively.
On the women's side, junior Maria Ramirez (Orange, CA) served as Redlands' top finisher for the fifth time this season. She completed the 5k as the top NCAA Division III competitor in 17:50.06 with an average mile of 5:44.4 for 21st place overall.
Senior Ellie Ramsey (Waterbury, VT) continued the trend by finishing her race in a career-best time of 18:55.18. First-year Isabella Glenn (Seattle, WA) crossed the finish line in 19:18.03, while classmate Alexis Wallace (Orangevale, CA) beat her previous best time by 14 seconds with a 19:38.39 mark.
In addition, sophomores Desiree Cadena (San Jose, CA) and Vicki Hengst (Madison, WI) posted solid times amidst the tough competition. Cadena ran a 20:15.30, while Hengst recorded another career-best effort by clocking in at 20:49.06.
Overall, the Bulldog women combined to finish as the top-ranked Division III team at the meet.
Redlands prepares to take on familiar foes at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships on Saturday, October 27, at Prado Park. The first race is slated for 9 a.m.