San Francisco’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams led the pack through the fog at the 21st USF Cross Country Invitational in Golden Gate Park on Aug. 31, with both teams earning third place finishes and and individual victory by sophomore Eric Causey.
The women began the 5,000 meter race buried in the pack, but stayed as a group and made their way to the front. Senior Sarah Pearson and freshman Daryl Phill had their sights set on the few runners that were ahead of them, and broke away from the team.
“I wanted to stay with my teammate Sarah, it was really inspiring to watch her go for it. I tried to stay as close to her as I could, but at the end I saw her with a big Stanford group in front of her and I thought, if we are going to do this we are going to have to do this together,” freshman Daryl Phil said.
Phill caught up with her teammate and the group of Cardinal runners. Together, the two teammates paced the Stanford team, leading them down the finish straight. Phill crossed the line in seventh overall with Pearson coming in eighth. Freshman Lily Engelbrekt also finished in the top twenty, coming behind her San Francisco teammates in 13th place. The Dons finished third overall in women’s team standings, behind University of California, Berkeley and Stanford.
The men also had a strong opening performance. Causey took the overall win in the men’s division with a time of 25 minutes and 11 seconds in the 8,000 meter race. He outran both the Cal and Stanford teams, leading the Dons to their first individual overall win at the USF Cross Country Invitational since 2006.
For the first three miles of the race, the Dons ran together as team. Causey then split off from the group and caught up to the leaders of the race. He ran side by side with the Cal and Stanford runners before pulling ahead. Causey crossed the finish line with his hands in the air, celebrating the first victory of the new season.
“I was a pretty good amount behind originally because I was running with the group. I had to catch up with the front pack, which wasn’t easy,” Causey said. “I wasn’t thinking about if I was going to get first or second, I was thinking about giving it my best. I place what I place.”
Junior Jarret Moore finished next for the Dons in 12th, with sophomore Nick Hicks coming in just two places behind at 14th. San Francisco took third overall in the men’s team standings, finishing behind University of California, Berkeley and Stanford. For both San Francisco men and women, it was a strong opening weekend that has set the tone for the rest of the season.