On a cool late summer morning, the top cross country teams in California convened at Woodward Park on Saturday to compete in the Fresno State Invitational.
This being the first race of the season, the Bulldogs came out as if they were in mid-season form with strong finishes by both the men and the women’s teams.
Sophomore Ellie Leather, who is from Bristol, England, had the highest finish for the Bulldogs on both the men and women’s sides.
Leather finished fourth in the 5K race with a time of 18:30 and an average mile time of 5:58.
She said after the race that she told herself to “finish strong and keep positive” to keep herself from slowing down and giving in to the the exhaustion.
“A UCLA girl got me right at the end. I think that I had a pretty good finish,” Leather said.
But she was not the only Bulldog to finish in the top 20. Freshman Maureen Jordan finished fourteenth with a time of 19:05 and an average mile of 6:09.
The men’s side saw one Bulldog finish in the top 20.
Freshman Jaden Uphoff finished the four-mile run thirteenth with a time of 21:24 and an average mile of 5:21.
Cross country coach Christine Engel said after the race that she was happy with the result, especially with nine freshman, men and women combined.
“I was happy to see them jump and handle the race distance with those new guys. It reinforced for some of them a good summer of training,” Engel said.
Overall the women finished fourth and the men placed third.
Chris Morzenti from UCLA finished first on the men’s side while Amy Quinones from Sacramento State finished first for the women.
The Bulldogs now have three weeks off to prepare for their next meet, the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas on Sept. 22.