At this time of year, when The Master’s University cross country coaches analyze race results, they look beyond where their athletes placed.
The competition, after all, is often awash with NCAA Division 1 talent, be it Alabama, Arkansas or UC Santa Barbara.
No, Master’s coaches look at times.
And in the case of Saturday, at the UC Riverside Invitational, they see potential for the women’s team to join the men atop the Golden State Athletic Conference.
“Our ladies put up impressive marks today and look like they’ll be the most dominant team in the GSAC,” said coach Zach Schroeder.
The Lady Mustangs raced in the open division of UC Riverside’s event Saturday, accruing a team time of one hour, 33 minutes and 31 seconds.
Abigail Frankian led the way with an eighth place finish. She ran the 5K course in 17:50.3.
Mikala Fairchild (18:08.8), Rachelle Nelson (18:31.9) and Rylee Bishop (19:05.3) also turned in strong runs.
“I’m super proud of our ladies,” Schroeder said. “Their hard work is paying off.”
The Mustang men, of course, are familiar with GSAC titles. They’ve won seven in a row.
Saturday, multiple athletes were sick, and only half of the team raced. But for the second straight meet, Wes Methum was the first Mustang to finish. His time of 25:24.1 was the second fastest 8K mark by a freshman in program history.
Mustang Skyler Mikesell ran a 25:30.1 and Andrew Orona posted a 26:07.4. Schroeder was especially pleased with the progression of Mikesell and sophomore Josh Nunez.
“They made big steps forward from two weeks ago and will be major contributors throughout the season,” Schroeder said.
Next up for Master’s is its home event — The Master’s University XC Invitational — on Sept. 30 at Central Park in Saugus.