Although coming in with different approaches, both Stanford Men’s and Women’s cross country teams left their hosted Stanford Invitational with positives to carry over into their next race at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
On the women’s side, head coach Elizabeth DeBole threw her top runners into the fire for this meet, and as expected, grabbed the team title by nearly 10 points to Cal Poly.
Junior Elise Cranny led the race finishing in 20:02.5s for the 6K. Vanessa Fraser and Danielle Katz were right behind in 4th and 6th at 20:19.0s and 20:34.0s respectively.
Junior Abbie McNulty, who finished 9th in 20:52.2s, arguable had her “best performance in a Stanford uniform” according to her coach. She chopped off 25-seconds from her previous best 6K.
Behind those four were freshman Hannah DeBalsi in 21:24.6s and sophomore Catherine Pagano, running her first race since January 24th of last year, who finished 6th for the team and 24th in the race.
"It was the first race of the season and they wanted to get a good competitive effort out of it," DeBole said. "They executed that 100 percent. All the girls went out controlled and within themselves the first half of the race. We wanted to work on every 1,000 meters after that, just building intensity, looking up, and keeping the forward momentum.
A really positive day.”
Over on the men’s side, head coach Chris Miltenberg decided to rest his top 7 and watched on as his red-shirting freshmen stole the show.
First was unattached Thomas Ratcliffe, who in his first college race—and cross country race—of what looks to be a promising career, won the 8K race in 23:17.0s.
Sophomore Grant Fisher finished second at this invitational as a freshman… he went on to earn All-America honors that season. Hopefully that helps place Ratcliffe’s performance in perspective.
"I can't say I'm hugely surprised," said Miltenberg. "He loves to compete, whether it's 800 or 8K. He wasn't thinking it was his first cross country race, he was thinking of his race."
Ratcliffe ran a 4:01s mile in high school for Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, Massachusetts, but soccer kept him out of XC season in the fall, so this kind of distance was certainly foreign to the young stud.
Behind him was junior Taj Dinger in 7th at 23:45.8s and red-shirting Alek Parsons in 9th at 23:45.9s.
The two other red-shirting freshmen in this race were Isaac Cortes, who took 29th in 24:19.8s, and Kevin Bishop in 94th at 25:42.4s.
The Stanford men finished last as a team with a score of 224, but if the red-shirting freshmen’s scores counted, the Cardinal would have finished respectably only 4 points behind Cal Poly for first.
The teams’ next race comes off a near two-week break, as they head to Wisconsin on the 14th.