Women find success, men still improving at Capital Cross Challenge invitational

UC Davis Stump Invite/Courtesy

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Saturday’s Capital Cross Challenge invitational brought results close to predictions.

The Cal women’s cross country team placed second in the invitational and first in the open, thanks to the help of a stunning performance and fast time of 20:48.6 from sophomore Mina Anglero.

The Cal men’s team placed seventh in the invitational, with Colin FitzGerald leading the Bears with a time of 24:44.3.

Norwegian sophomore Mina Anglero continues to surprise coaches, teammates and fans alike with her impressive times. Anglero is new to cross country, and the Capital Cross Challenge is only her second cross country race ever.

She started her sports career by playing competitive basketball in high school and switched to running 60- and 100-meter races. Anglero wasn’t done making drastic changes and started running 800- and 1,500-meter events in college. She never anticipated becoming a long-distance runner.

“For me, going into cross country, I thought ‘OK, I’m just going to make it to the finish line. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, I don’t know what this is.’ It’s a little more painful than I expected it to be,” Anglero said.

In preparation for the race, the team ran a six-mile tempo run during practice. For the first mile, the team went all out, and then kept a reasonable pace for the next four miles, finishing off with a sprint for the sixth and final mile.

“The six-mile tempo run was the toughest workout I’ve ever done in my entire life. I have never huffed and puffed as hard as I did then. It really prepared me for this meet,” Anglero said.

The crowds at the Capital Cross Challenge were bigger than usual. There were lots of Bears fans cheering on their team, and the hype pushed many runners to pick up the pace.

Top runners on the team include Annie Boos, a junior who finished with a time of 21:08.6 in the women’s 6K invite. Sophomore Marea Zlatunich also ran in the women’s invite, finishing with a time of 21:16.6. Trevor Woodward finished the men’s 8K race with a time of 24:56.0.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect with the competition, but I was out in the front for most of the race, so it was a nice switch from being in a really big pack and being overwhelmed. It was definitely my best race so far,” said Kenna Clawson, a Cal sophomore who ran the women’s 6K open race, finishing with a time of 22:06.1.

The team is aiming to make it to nationals. To do so, it either has to qualify at regionals or get a bid by earning enough points. Each race earns the team a certain number of points, so the team members strive to put in their maximum effort every time they run.

The 2019 Under Armour Pre-National Invitational is coming up in just a few weeks, and with a big racing looming overhead, head coach Bobby Lockhart is pushing the team to get into a racing mindset.

Lockhart’s first year looks promising, especially with the results the women’s team has been earning as of late.

Cal’s next race is at the Under Armour Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19. More six-mile tempo runs are to come for the team, as the season is just getting started.

Mia Horne covers cross country. Contact her at [email protected].