SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Junior Kinsey Gomez shattered the school record on a 6K course, running 20:31.4 to come in sixth place and lead the Oregon State cross country squad to a third-place finish at the Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale, Calif. on Saturday morning.
“Kinsey got out, was a tough competitor the entire time and just ran with people,” Oregon State assistant coach Laura Harmon said of Gomez’s performance. “She was in good company. There were girls who have qualified for the national meet as individuals that she ran with. It wasn’t just that it was a fast course. She ran really well.”
The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho native bested OSU’s previous top mark for a 6,000-meter cross country race by more than 20 seconds, topping Sylvia Veal’s 20:54 from 2008. At this season’s Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Wash. on Sept. 14, Gomez again was the first finisher for Oregon State, running that 6K course in 20:55.
“I knew that she was capable of this,” Harmon added. “And she’s capable of even more than this. On Tuesday she had a little stomach bug and for her to bounce back from that and not only go out and physically do what she did today, but mentally do what she did today is pretty amazing. It speaks volumes of how great of a competitor she is.”
Overall, Oregon State finished third in the field, which featured 19 Division I schools, with 92 points. Loyola Marymount (53) and UC Santa Barbara (88) were the top two schools on the day.
Behind Gomez, redshirt freshman Emily Weber was 16th overall, running her race in 21:59.8. Senior Sandra Martinez finished 26th (21:15.8) and freshman Holly Cavalluzzo was not far behind in 28th (21:16.7). Fellow freshman Kristiane Width rounded out OSU’s scorers with a 54th-place finish in a time of 21:34.5.
Weber shaved eight seconds off her previous 6K best and Martinez made a large jump to place herself amongst the Beavers’ lead pack. In the season’s previous three races, she had crossed the line anywhere from 14 seconds to 35 seconds behind the freshman Cavalluzzo, but jumped up with the New Yorker on Saturday and eventually overtook her at the end.
“Sandra made a pretty big jump to be able to run up with Holly so that was great to see,” Harmon added. “She’s somebody who tends to come on a lot towards the end of a season and her race today was really encouraging.”
Saturday’s race proved a solid end to the regular season for this OSU group, which will rest up before the Pac-12 Championships on Nov. 2 in Colorado. From top to bottom one of the Beavers’ more complete teams in some time, Oregon State has climbed as high as seventh in the USTFCCCA West Region rankings and came into the weekend 13th. In the most recent national rankings, five of the top 11 teams in the country hailed from the loaded west.
“I was really happy with today’s race,” Harmon commented. “I think they went out and took some risks and definitely saw what happens if you do that. I feel really good heading into the conference meet. At this point we’re starting to come on as a team and that’s just going to continue into Pac-12’s. We’ve kept their volume up and the volume of their intensity up for the most part, so now I think they’re going to start to feel a lot more rested and ready to roll. I’m pretty confident and I’m sure that they are too.”
Oregon State will have a large contingent entered in next Friday’s Beaver Classic hosted by the Corvallis Running Project at Avery Park.