Sept. 24, 2005
Going head to head for the first time in 2005 against Conference rivals UC Irvine and Long Beach St., the Gauchos came out on top of them as they finished 5th out of 33 teams at the Stanford Invitational with 193pts. Stanford won the team title with 31pts. as Cardinal athlete Arianna Lambie took the individual title in 21:15 minutes for the 6,000m course.
Getting out strong, Hadas Moser (Jr.) found herself in great early position among the top twenty athletes. Behind her, teammates Seanna Martin (Sr.), Bethany Nickless (So.), Leslie Alexander (Sr.) and Liza Hitchner (Fr.) were running strong as they began to slowly move through the field after the mile mark.
With Moser having an off day as they moved through two miles, the Gauchos made a strong push to make up some ground in the backstretch of the course. UCI and LBSU all appeared to be having great races as their top runners were well ahead of UCSB. Nickless, after having a healthy track season was having one of her best Cross Country races in uniform as was Hitchner running 6k for the first time in her career.
UCI had two runners up front in the top twenty and LBSU had one as they entered the last mile of the course. Martin was edging ever closer to these three as the other Gauchos rolled as well down the hill toward the finish line.
Martin would catch one Irvine women but fail to catch the other two Big West rivals as she finished 20th in 22:24 right behind one from UCI and one from LBSU. With UCSB, UCI and LBSU currently very close in the Big West title race it appeared that the other two had the upper hand on the Gauchos today with Moser not at 100%. However, a strong last 1,000m for the Gauchos two, three and four runners put them just ahead of their rivals.
Nickless would take 25th in 22:31, Alexander was 40th with a 22:50 and Hitchner was 52nd in a time of 23:03. Moser stayed tough to grab 71st as their 5th runner. Nickless's and Hitchner's strong finishes were enough to propel the Gauchos into 5th with a team score of 193 to UCI's 198 and LBSU's 199pts.
The Gauchos next travel to Terre Haute, IN on October 15th to battle it out with the top teams in the country. The Big West Championships await them two weeks later on the 28th at UC Riverside, site of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Championships.