Cross country makes strides at Pomona-Pitzer Invite

The Azusa Pacific cross country teams had a smooth transition from last weekend’s Stanford Invitational to Saturday’s Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

Senior Staci Foster led the women to their second-place team finish, coming in third overall as the top Division II finisher. Freshman Eileen Stressling finished shortly behind Foster in the sixth position overall. Sophomore Kylie Betts (12th place, 22:45.7 time), freshman Jess Aguilar (32nd place, 23:30.1 time) and senior Kristie Sikma (41st place, 23:45.4 time) rounded out the women’s top-five finishers.

“Our fourth and fifth spots closed the gap on our No. 3, and that was a big step forward,” said head coach Preston Grey. “We put ourselves up front in the race, which may have been a little too aggressive, but I’d rather see that than to be too passive. We’re racing with more confidence, and we’re making strides in the right direction.”

With the men’s front-runner Peter Buscheck out this week, freshman Jeremy Porter set the pace for the men’s fifth-place team finish, coming in 12th with a 25:52.5 time. Freshman Hunter Gulino came in the 25th position with a 26:08.5 time while sophomore Kyle Bueckert (32nd place, 26:19.3 time) and freshmen Alek Simpson (43rd place, 26:29.0 time) and Cody Drisko (49th place, 26:34.2 time) wrapped up the team’s top-five finishers.

“We were a little flat today, but with back-to-back race weeks and the training we did this week, that was understandable,” Grey said. “We competed well. Whenever you don’t have your leader up front, it can be tough.”

The Cougars will have three weeks to prepare for the Triton Classic on Oct. 25.