SDSU finishes fourth at 69th annual Aztec Invitational

Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor

Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor

by Jose Guzman

The San Diego State cross country team finished fourth overall this past Saturday in the 69th annual Aztec Invitational, despite missing two key runners, with a score of 87- behind the University of Southern California and Biola University.

No. 10 University of Arkansas dominated the race and swept the competition with a perfect score of 15 points as a result of having the first eight runners cross the finish line.

SDSU top runner was sophomore Rachel Roesgen, who came in No. 13 overall with a time of 18 minutes, 51 seconds. Three spots later another Aztec arrived as sophomore Chelsea Kruthers finished No. 16 overall with a time of 18:52.

Junior Jessica Cygan placed No. 20 in the 5k race and just behind her came freshman Elaine Ribeiro who proved that the team was capable of doing big things.

Not only did SDSU compete against one of the top teams in the country, but it also was at a disadvantage.

SDSU assistant coach Chris Capeau said he knew the challenges coming into this race without two key runners and facing a team such as Arkansas.

“They are ranked No. 10 in the nation and we are not ranked at all, but I was expecting us to come in and just show that we belong,” Capeau said. “I love competing against the best teams; I don’t believe in just competing against small schools where you can win easily. My expectations were to come in and just show that we can compete at the cross country level at Division I.”

Capeau said that even though this is a young team he wished that a couple of them would have made the top seven, but also knew how good the Razorbacks were.

Roesgen, who was the SDSU athlete that placed highest in the race, said this team is growing and getting better since it has more experience than in the past.

“I knew exactly what I had to do. I focused on the process the whole week and made sure I had everything prepared and, like, when I got here I knew what to do,” Roesgen said. “I just made it happen so that was very exciting.”

Kruthers was another Aztec who performed well in this meet.  She said that even with two teammates injured, SDSU was ready to come in for the win.

[quote] “We are a very young team, we have mostly sophomores and freshmen so we are looking to do some great things in the future,” Kruthers said. “If you look at our results from last season and compare them to this season we have improved greatly.”[/quote]

Head coach Shelia Burrell said she is looking forward to having more teams at the invitational next year as her team grows.

“We like to always compete against the best to be the best,” Burrell said. “It previews what it takes for our team as we are progressing and each year getting better to understand that this is the competition, you have to see the competition to know what you are competing against so you can go after and chase that.”

Burrell said they have the next week off and they need to prepare for the NCAA Inter-Regional Jamboree competition in Sacramento.

[quote]“In our season, the meet in Sacramento is the meet that we want to do well at because that’s where the NCAA regional championships are,” Burrell said. “I think that’s where we really want to compete. So this course sets up to go to Sacramento and know where we are and have a good race there.”[/quote]