Low key cross country sweep for Stanford in opener

The Stanford men won its race at the San Diego Invitational on Saturday. Photo by David Bernal/

The Stanford men's and women's cross country teams made a clean sweep of their season opener at the University of San Diego Invitational at Mission Bay on Saturday.

The five members of the No. 2 Cardinal men's team finished within one second of each other in a perfect example of superior pack running. The Cardinal placed second through sixth. Stanford scored 20 points to 39 for runner-up UC San Diego.

The No. 5 Cardinal women took the top four places, all with the same time of 21:35 for 6 kilometers, to easily win the team scoring with 29 points.

Fiona O'Keeffe, a sophomore only a few months removed from her fifth-place finish in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, was awarded the victory.

The race also marked the return of Vanessa Fraser into a Stanford uniform. Fraser redshirted the outdoor track season and went on to place seventh in the 5,000 at the U.S. Championships in a personal best of 15:25.48.

For the men, redshirt freshmen Isaac Cortes and Alek Parsons made their collegiate cross country debuts.

For Parsons, it was his first race of any kind in a Stanford uniform. Cortes, a two-time 2016 California state track champion, led the Stanford team. All were timed in 25:36 and 25:37 over 8 kilometers.

This is the first time Stanford has raced in the USD Invite. It was a low-key meet with five men's teams and three women's.

Stanford uses its opening race – most recently at the University of San Francisco or Fresno State invitationals -- as a tempo workout. The goal is to hit specific splits and to run as a team.

Also, Chris Miltenberg, Stanford's Director of Track and Field, typically does not race true freshmen this early. The race also served as the conclusion of a week-long training camp.

This was the first time Stanford has spent that week in the San Diego area. Previous training camps were at Mammoth Lakes on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.

— Stanford Athletics

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