SAN FRANCISCO – Stanford swept the men’s and women’s team titles at the season-opening USF Invitational cross-country meet Saturday at foggy Golden Gate Park.
The Cardinal men won for the third consecutive season, edging California 30-35 over the 8-kilometer course that began and ended at Speedway Meadow. Jim Rosa (25:20.2), defending champion Tyler Stutzman (25:20.3), and Erik Olson (25:20.3) led the Cardinal by finishing third through fifth.
Stanford’s women beat runner-up Cal, 20-54, for its first victory in the meet since 2005. Stanford placed five among the top six, led by runner-up Jessica Tonn (17:44.9) and third-place Aisling Cuffe (17:44.9), who ran side by side on the 5-kilometer course and completed the race with wide smiles.
“The team has been on campus for less than 48 hours,” said coach Chris Miltenberg, Stanford’s Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field. “This is the first thing I’ve really seen anyone do this year.”
USF’s Eric Causey won the men’s race with late kick in 25:11.5, and Cal’s Kelsey Santisteban won the women’s race in 17:26.1, pulling away from defending champion Cuffe and Tonn just past the one-mile mark.
“We had to keep in mind the context of the situation,” said Cuffe, a 2012 cross-country All-America. “It was important to stay off of the burners in this meet. The focus is always November, at the NCAA Championships.”
Stanford aimed to run as a pack in both races. The top eight Stanford women finished within 25 seconds of each other – all within the top 11. The Stanford men placed five among the top 10, all within 20 seconds of each other.
“It’s all about working together,” Tonn said. “This is fun, and we’re happy to be back.”
Stanford was cautious with those who have experienced injuries, illnesses, and had long track seasons. Because of that, the Cardinal did not field many who could project to be in its postseason top sevens, both among its men’s and women’s teams. The Cardinal women are ranked No. 8 and the men No. 16.
Cardinal runners who made their collegiate debuts were redshirt freshmen Garrett Sweatt (eighth, 25:36.5) and Kevin Bishop (10th, 25:39.7). Miltenberg held out all his true freshmen and will make decisions on redshirting the men after the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28, in which they will run unattached.
Before the meet, Stanford runners who did not compete did a hard fartlek workout. Afterward, Cardinal runners who did compete, added to their workload with some additional intensity running.
“Everything has a purpose,” Miltenberg said. “We got a good sense of where everyone is right now and treated this as an opportunity to get a great anerobic threshold workout.”
The Cardinal reported on Aug. 29 and had one training session before the meet. On Tuesday, the team will leave for a high-altitude training camp at Mammoth Mountain. The original route was going to be over Tioga Pass on Highway 120, but because of road closures from the Rim Fire in the Yosemite National Park area, the Cardinal will take Highway 50 just south of Lake Tahoe.
Team leaders: 1, Stanford 30; 2, California 35; 3, USF 63; 4, Santa Clara 125; 5, San Jose State 140.
Individual winner: Eric Causey (USF) 25:11.5.
Stanford runners: 3, Jim Rosa 25:20.2; 4, Tyler Stutzman 25:20.3; 5, Erik Olson 25:20.3; 8, Garrett Sweatt 25:36.5; 10, Kevin Bishop 25:39.7; 18, Marco Bertolotti 26:20.5; 29, Will Drinkwater 26:57.3.
Team leaders: 1, Stanford 20; 2, California 54; 3, USF 85; 4, BYU 96; 5, Pacific 146.
Individual winner: Kelsey Santisteban (Cal) 17:44.7.
Stanford runners: 2, Jessica Tonn 17:44.7; 3, Aisling Cuffe 17:44.9; 4, Julia Foster 18:07.0; 5, Rebecca Mehra 18:07.4; 6, Tate Murray 18:07.8; 9, Megan Lacy 18:09.4; 10, Molly McNamara 18:09.4; 11, Cami Chapus 18:09.6; 15, Mary Kate Anselmini 18:19.1; 30, Sophia Ginez 19:17.5.