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Mustangs run to the 3-peat

College X-C: The Master’s College men win GSAC finals for third straight season; women finish in fou

Posted: November 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

The Master’s College men’s cross country team wasn’t at its best in the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship at Irvine Park on Saturday — but that wasn’t going to stop it from walking, or rather running, away with its third consecutive conference title.

And that speaks volumes for just how good this team can be.

John Gilbertson won for the sixth consecutive time this season with a time of 24 minutes, 22.4 seconds on the 8K course, improving to 6-0 on the season, and leaving the Mustangs undefeated against conference foes this season.

The women, who entered the race ranked 13th in the country, finished fourth overall.

The championship is the men’s third consecutive and the school’s fifth overall GSAC title.

“We’re extremely excited to bring home our third title. But we really want to see every guy go out and race to their full potential. So that’s a little disappointing,” said assistant coach Amie Schroeder. “We’re extremely excited we won; you can’t be too disappointed with that, especially when things didn’t go our way today.”

As a team the men had a relatively subpar day, placing its seven scoring runners in the top 28, with David Eller finishing ninth overall in 26:24.8 and Anthony Pizzo finishing 14th in 26:46.8.

“Our men’s team as a whole had a pretty off day today,” Schroeder said. “Not exactly sure what was going on our there, but pretty poor performances from everybody except Gilbertson. But that does show you the strength of our men’s team. Because we still managed to pull off a win despite some bizarre (results).

The victory also gives the Mustangs one of 22 automatic berths into the NAIA National Championship in Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 17.

“We know we’re capable of finishing very well at Nationals, but we know we won’t if we perform at Nationals the way we performed today. There have been times during the season when we see different guys come out and race the way they show up every day at practice,” Schroeder said. “When we see them racing that way, we know they have a potential to be a podium team (top three finisher). But we still haven’t seen them do it all in the same day. If they want to get on the podium, they need to put it all together. There’s no way they will if they race like they did today.”

The sentiment was a little different on the women’s side.

Racing against strong conference competition, the Mustangs placed three in the top 10 overall.

Hannah Kellerman finished second in the 5K race in 18:01.5. Saugus graduate Karis Frankian was fourth in 18:20.2, and Katrina Graham was ninth in 18:41.6.

“Hannah Kellerman had a phenomenal race,” Schroeder said. “We had the second, fourth and ninth place girls. If you put three in the top 10, that’s a great performance. So a good showing on the women’s side.”

Now, the women have to wait for the final rankings to be revealed tonight to find out if they earn an at-large berth into Nationals — last season just eight were available.

“It varies, but as long as you’re in the top 18 you should get to go. So they should be totally fine,” Schroeder said. “But as a coach you still get very nervous until you see the final ratings posted.”

Notes: By virtue of their top 14 finishes, Gilbertson, Eller, Pizzo, Kellerman, Frankian and Graham all received All-Conference honors.

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