SUNNYVALE, CALIF. – In their last meet before the conference championships, Seattle U cross country posted some of their best times ever, with no fewer than 12 Redhawks posting substantial personal records – and one school record – at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational on Saturday morning. The meet, hosted by Santa Clara University, featured hundreds of runners from a number of competitive collegiate programs. Seattle U’s men finished in 16th place as a team, while the women’s squad finished in 14th place.

The women found a great deal of success in the 6k invitational. Senior Olivia Stein was the standout once again with a school-record time of 20:58.3, a personal best by 45 seconds and good for 23rd place in the field of 204. Her performance was the first time that a Seattle U woman has run the 6k in under 21 minutes.

Junior Rachel Kastama followed Stein with a time of 21:43.7, which was more than 12 seconds better than her previous record, while sophomore Courtney Gelmini finished at 22:04.9 for a 25-second personal best. Sophomore Marie-Therese Chahrouri took an entire minute off her personal record, finishing the race at 22:07.6; following that, freshman Delaney Griffin set her own PR with 22:12.4.

The next Redhawk to post a personal-best was sophomore Ellie Postma, who cut 52 seconds in a 22:19.3 performance. Senior Shannan Higgins followed at 22:51.2, sophomore Megan Delorey finished at 22:58.3, and freshman Grace Much had the largest improvement of the day with 23:03.8 – one minute and five seconds faster than her former best time. Freshman Emily Harris also notably improved her PR by 58 seconds, finishing the face at 23:31.7. Finally, in the women’s open race, senior Thea Foulk finished 53rd of 209 runners at 23:13.5, and junior Elle Stein followed with a time of 23:25.3.

The men’s 8k invitational included eight entries from Seattle U. Junior Nathan Pixler led the way with a time of 25:01.4, missing out on his personal best by just one second and finishing 57th out of 179 racers. Next, classmate Hamza Ali posted a time of 25:07.01 and senior Andrew Ayers (25:22.9) set a personal best of his own by 11 seconds. Next to finish the race was junior Kyle Kennedy, who shaved 10 seconds off his best time to post a mark of 25:32.1, while senior Blake Delaney had his own PR of over 15 seconds with 25:32.4. Sophomore Lance Slichko followed with a time of 26:09.3, and freshman Gus Harquail’s 26:22.8 was a personal best by 32 seconds. Finally, sophomore Ansel Pendley-Griffin rounded out the group at 26:41.4.

Head Coach Kelly Sullivan knows that his squad can do even better. “We had some personal bests today, which is always good, but we have some work to do to stay competitive with the other WAC teams. The conference is very talented and has a lot of depth on both the men’s and women’s sides – but I have faith that our own team will respond.”

Sullivan’s comments are especially timely – with the conclusion of the regular season, Seattle U’s next challenge lies in Kansas City, Mo., where they will compete at the Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships on Nov. 2.