Stanford's men's and women's cross country teams each placed second at the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Friday on the Pac-12 championship course at Springfield Golf Club.
The No. 5 Cardinal women were second to No. 2 Oregon, 33-66, but ahead of No. 19 BYU (78) and No. 11 Washington (95).
This was essentially the season opener for Stanford. The teams had competed Sept. 16 in the low-key USD Invitational in San Diego, which was treated as a workout. But this was a better representation of the team.
What did Stanford learn? For one, that Alex Ostberg could be an impact runner this season. Ostberg is coming off his first sub-14 in the 5,000 meters in June and has continued his progression. Ostberg was Stanford's No. 1 on Friday, placing sixth in 23:48.8 over the 8-kilometer 4.97-mile) course.
Stanford's No. 2 was freshman Callum Bolger, in 14th (23:56.6). Bolger was among the six Stanford runners – three men and three women – to make their collegiate debuts. Connor Lane was 36th (24:18.6) and Michael Vernau was 37th (24:19.0). Among the women, Jessica Lawson was 23rd (19:50.5) as Stanford's No. 5 runner. Jordan Oakes was 25th (19:52.2) and Julia Heymach 26th (20:27.5).
Among the women, Abbie McNulty placed a strong 10th, running 19:12.5 over 6K (3.73 miles). She was No. 3 on the team behind All-Americans Vanessa Fraser (fifth, 19:12.5) and Fiona O'Keeffe (ninth in 19:16.3). But like Ostberg with the men, McNulty's performance may have been the most encouraging for the women.
Stanford figures to have great depth, but McNulty, a competitor in two NCAA championship meets, will undoubtedly make a bid to be included once again. Her time was 1 minute, 27.8 seconds faster than any 6K cross country race she's run for Stanford and a great indication of her fitness level.
Stanford did not race some of its top runners, but the squads that will toe the line at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 13 should look even more like the ones that will race in the postseason.