Two Different Tales End In Disappointment for Bears at Pre-NCAAs

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Sophomore Deborah Maier said the Cal cross country team had "mixed feelings" about its performance at Saturday's Pre-NCAA Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.

While the meet featured some strong individual performances by the Bears, both the men and women had hoped for better team results than their 18th- and 13th-place finishes, respectively.

Maier took 13th place in the second of two women's races on Saturday, covering the 6,000-meter course in 21:00.3.

She and redshirt freshman Ellie Keene (54th) helped the women's squad finish 13th out 37 teams despite less-than-favorable conditions.

"Deborah and Ellie had great, great races, so we were really excited about that," senior Allison Greggor said. "Especially because the conditions were really muddy and really cold, which was out of our comfort zone."

Maier's finish gave her the best overall finish for the squad for the second consecutive meet.

"Individually, I started out pretty slow, maybe a little bit too slow," Maier said. "Throughout the race, I continued my way up and finished pretty strong."

However, the general trend during the meet was the opposite for both teams as a whole, according to coach Tony Sandoval.

"We started really well as a pack through most of the early part of the race, (and) I think we were in pretty good position," he said. "We kind of fell off the pace at the end. We need to finish strong over the last 1,200 (meters) to a mile."

But while the women did not achieve their goal of a top-10 finish, Greggor was pleased that Cal notched victories over 12th-ranked Baylor -- which came in 20th place -- and No. 27 Northern Arizona.

"Both of those will help us down at the end of the season when it comes to making nationals, so that was very positive," she said.

The Cal men, like the women's squad, were paced by a veteran and a newcomer. In his season debut, junior Kari Karlsson took 54th (24:42.2) in the 8,000-meter race, while freshman Collin Jarvis placed 84th in the 238-man division.

And like the women's squad, the Cal men had some problems finishing the race off strong.

"A couple of us, including myself, kind of fell off," Jarvis said. "We definitely didn't run as well as we could have."

Saturday's race presented a clear idea of what parts of the race the Bears must improve on, as the they prepare for the Pac-10 Championships on Oct. 30.

"It was a good learning experience," Jarvis said. "We're still trying to figure out how to race in situations when there are hundreds of other runners around us."


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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