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Bilo, Hutchins Lead Mustangs at Pre-Nats; McDonald Wins Cal Poly Invite

Bilo, Hutchins Lead Mustangs at Pre-Nats; McDonald Wins Cal Poly Invite

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. and SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly cross country team competed at two meets on Saturday morning, running at both the Adidas Pre-Nationals hosted by Indiana State and its own invitational at Fairbanks Memorial Cross Country Course.

The Mustangs began the day at LaVern Gibson Championship Course with a women's 6k, led again by sophomore Peyton Bilo. Bilo, already a three-time Big West Conference Athlete of the Week this season, finished in third place among the 285 individuals, posting a time of 20:11.5.

Michigan senior Erin Finn won with a performance of 19:44.7, ahead of Colorado senior Erin Clark's runner-up 20:08.4. Both Finn and Clark are two-time All-Americans. Clark led the No. 2-ranked Buffaloes to the team title with a score of 93, topping No. 9 Oregon's 154 points.

The Mustangs finished 11th among the 42 squads, with a score of 477. Senior Ashley Windsor was next in for Cal Poly (37th in the latest national rankings), taking 87th place with a time of 21:19.8.

Windsor was followed by sophomore teammate Katie Izzo in 116th (with a time of 21:36.2), junior Molly Haar in 130th (21:43.8), sophomore Julia Vasquez in 141st (21:47.9), and true freshmen Cate Ratliff and Morgin Coonfield in 147th (21:49.5) and 212th (22:20.5).

Then in the men's 8k, junior Clayton Hutchins took 22nd out of 268 competitors with a time of 24:24.6, leading the Mustangs to a 12th-place team score of 409.

Paced by senior Edward Cheserek's first-place 23:34.7, No. 4 Oregon won the 41-team event with 85 points, beating out No. 5 Arkansas' 110.

Next for Cal Poly, junior Alex Heuchert finished 66th, in 25:02.5. Behind him were true freshman Justin Robison (in 96th place at 25:15.8), senior Swarnjit Boyal (105th, 25:19.9), sophomore Mikey Giguere (120th, 25:24.2), and seniors David Galvez (158th, 25:41.0) & Dimitri Voytilla (204th, 26:00.7).

Wabash Valley will also serve as the site of the upcoming NCAA Championships on Nov. 19.

Meanwhile back home, rain fell early in the morning but dissipated in time for the start of the women's 5k. Mustang sophomore Maddie McDonald won the intrasquad race with a time of 18:39.3 in overcast and slightly muddy conditions, edging junior teammate Kylie Nishisaka's second-place 18:45.9.

Hannah Hull was third at 19:18.5, ahead of fellow sophomore Ashley Cope (fifth, 19:27.4), redshirt freshmen Delaney Fitzsimmons (sixth, 19:28.2), Megan Melnyk (11th, 20:39.7) & Michaela Barros (12th, 20:47.0), and junior Allie Sulaitis (13th, 21:26.6).

Five true freshmen also raced unattached, as Ashley Heys finished fourth (19:21.7), Melodie Leroudier seventh (19:32.9), Chase Worthen eighth (19:37.5), Rachel Bordes ninth (20:06.0) and Ashley Davis 10th (20:16.7).

Former Texas All-American Joe Thorne won the ensuing men's 8k with a time of 26:49.5, ahead of first-year Mustang (running unattached) Chas Cook's 26:59.3.

Then redshirt freshman Kaleb Kunes came in third (at 27:25.0), trailed by junior Zachary Wims (fourth, 27:33.5), redshirt freshman Wesley Walsh (fifth, 27:49.9), sophomore Garrett Migliozzi (sixth, 28:04.4), true freshman Robert Franklin (unattached; seventh, 28:17.0), and redshirt freshmen Alex Merder (28:34.0) & Evan Jameson (29:17.4) in eighth and ninth.

The Mustangs will now train for the postseason, beginning with the Big West Championships on Oct. 29. Hawai'i will host the meet at Kahuku Golf Course.