REDLANDS, Calif. -- The cross country team opened its season on Saturday with a warm up race at University of Redlands; the nearly 100 degree weather made for a lot warmer of a warm up race than was expected.
Both teams came out of the gate strong as the Eagles placed 10 total runners in the top 10 of the men and women's races. Chelsea Janzen and Danny Ledesma each won the individual title in their race.
"It was a good first outing," said Head Coach Jonathan Zimmerman. "We still have a lot to work on, and are not quite where we need to be yet, but it was a solid showing of teamwork."
The Redlands Invitational is considered a warm up race for the Biola squad because no team champions are crowned, and the races are shorter than the normal in-season distance. The women's race was a 4.5K and the men's was a 6K, while normally the teams run 5K and 8K races.
There was a mix-up before the women's race began, so the posted results display different names than the runners who actually finished with those times.
Janzen, an experienced senior runner, posted a time of 16:49.60, the time was good enough to win by just 1.1 seconds before sophomore Kellian Hunt, an NAIA All-American last season.
Five other members of the women's team placed in the top-10 of an event that included runners from Biola, Redlands, Arizona Christian, Caltech, La Verne and Providence College.
If this were a scoring meet Lyndee Dawson (16:51.00), Carrie Soholt (16:53.80) and Sarah Pfaff (17:39.80) would round out the counting times for the Eagles.
The top four runners for Biola all finished within four seconds of one another, proving the successful execution of pack running in the first event of the year. An approach that helps ease the runners back into form for the season.
Ledesma, a senior, returns to this season's squad after being the lone member of the men's team who earned a trip to the NAIA national championship a year ago. He and Andrew Daedler ran very well for the Eagles, claiming the top two spots in the men's race.
Ledesma ran a 19:03.10 in this event last season, placing fifth. This year he ran a 19:11.10, but it was good enough to beat out the 59 other competitors on one of the warmest days of the summer in Redlands.
Daedler and Brandon Berz joined Ledesma in the top 10 of the men's race. Daedler finished in 19:27.50 and Berz finished in seventh with 19:47.00. Shane Brinson, the only other competitor for Biola, placed 14th with a 20:09.50.
"Danny and Andrew really impressed me by placing one and two at this event," said Zimmerman. "They ran very well in an event where we could not even run a full counting team."
Biola got solid performances on both sides as they continue to tune up their younger runners for the tough competition that lies ahead in the Golden State Athletic Conference this season.
They travel to Riverside, next Saturday for the Lancer Invitational, hosted by NCAA Div. II California Baptist. This is the Eagles first time competing in this event, which was swept by UC San Diego a year ago.
Complete finish order of the women's squad (differs from posted results because of switched bib numbers):
Chelsea Janzen - 1st
Kellian Hunt - 2nd
Lyndee Dawson - 3rd
Carrie Soholt - 5th
Sarah Pfaff - 6th
Anika Gasner - 7th
Ilima Kung - 9th
Chloe Carlson - 19th
Megan Callender - 20th
Hannah Jossi - 23rd
Kasey Schalich - 24th