Nearly a month after its season opener in Arizona, No. 20 UCLA cross country took part in its second meet of the year at the Roy Griak Invitational.
Stiff competition took the form of No. 18 Colorado State and No. 25 Michigan State, but the men garnered a top-three team finish for the second meet in a row, with five runners finishing in the top 25 overall.
Sophomore Garrett Reynolds and junior Robert Brandt came in second and third, respectively.
“Those were special performances by Robert and Garrett,” said assistant coach Devin Elizondo. “They went up against one of the top guys in the country in (senior Jerrell Mock) from Colorado State.”
Colorado State’s Jerrel Mock won the men’s 8K with a time of 24 minutes, 52 seconds, but Reynolds was just 11 seconds behind him at 25:03.
“It was our first true race. … It was really awesome to get a full team of guys out there competing together for the first time,” Reynolds said. “My goal was to be top 10 in the race and I thought top five was more of a dream goal. But I’m so thrilled with an overall second-place finish.”
Reynolds also said he thinks the results from this race will serve to boost his morale as he moves further into the season.
“This race gave the confidence that I can be a runner-up with those top guys in the nation and competing for (a top ten spot) at each meet,” Reynolds said. “I can run with any of the top guys in the NCAA, for sure.”
Other finishers within the top 25 for the men were redshirt junior Jackson Marshall and seniors Myles Smith and Daniel De La Torre, whose 16th-, 18th- and 24th-place finishes all helped secure the men’s top-three team finish.
The women of UCLA came in 10th overall, with freshman Erika Adler leading the way for the second meet in a row.
“There were two really good performances. One was (junior) Jackie Garner. She ran there last year and she improved her time,” said assistant coach Jennifer DeRego. “Erika is very eager. She has an extreme amount of raw talent. … She’s the type of kid who always wants to do more.”
Adler clocked in at 22:19.8 on the 6K course and placed 23rd overall – the women’s best individual finish. Garner was behind her coming in 58th overall with a time of 23:09 in 2017, whereas least year she ran the same course in 23:28 and placed 102nd overall.
In between Garner and Adler was sophomore Cassandra Durgy who came in 37th overall with a time of 22:46.1.
Other finishers for the women include freshmen Christina Rice and Marissa Villegas, who finished 80th overall with a time of 23:30.4 and 87th at 23:36.4, respectively.
“(The team) needs to keep their nose to the grindstone. Keep training smart,” DeRego said. “(They) need to just keep that end goal in focus.”