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Stanford Cross Country: Grit. Grind. Hello XC

Stanford men's cross country has high expectations for the season.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 4 NCAA ranked Stanford Men's Cross Country team officially opened up their season last Friday at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational.

Although the season technically kicked off on September 3rd at the USF Invitational, that meet was viewed as no more than a workout. In the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational the Cardinal did not race the squad's top 3 runners, All-Americans Sean McGorty and Grant Fisher, and redshirt freshman Alex Ostberg, those who did race approached it like the real deal.

Garrett Sweatt led the Cardinal with a 10th place 8K (4.97 mile) finish in 24:09.1s, followed by Sam Wharton in 17th (24:24.9s) and Will Lauer in 23rd (24:40.3).

The team took 5th place, with BYU, Syracuse, and Virginia rounding out the podium.

Head coach Chris Miltenberg sought out this meet for its notoriously grueling course sprinkled in hills and it's tough competition, featuring the No. 1 ranked Syracuse. And this invitational did the opposite of disappoint.

Complementing the difficult course was a humid 82-degree temperature that showed the squad the type of fight they need to have to reach the Cardinal's high goals for the end of its season.

"Our guys came in carrying a lot of training fatigue and hit a hard course, and the most hot and humid conditions I've ever seen for a cross country race," said Miltenberg (via Palo Alto Online). "We wanted to practice putting in a hard fighting effort when things were not perfect, and we certainly got that today."

The full squad should be out there next Saturday when the Cardinal hosts its annual Stanford Invitational, all ready to get the ball rolling for a big season ahead.

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