The Master’s University Mustangs cross-country continues to break records in 2021. On Saturday at the Bronco Invitational, the No. 6 Mustang men broke their team record time, running 2:03:33 as a group at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale.
“The guys did something that no team I’ve coached has been able to do, posting a team time under 2:04:00,” Master’s head coach Zach Schroeder said. “The previous school record was 2:04:18, set a decade ago at the UC Riverside Cross Country Invitational. The result bested an effort put together by a team comprised of former TMU NAIA national champion John Gilbertson, All-American Anthony Pizzo and a supporting cast of talented athletes.”
Wesley Methum crossed the line first for the Mustangs, placing 20th with a time of 24:15, with Davis Boggess right behind in 21st with a time of 24:16. Brint Laubach finished 38th with a time of 24:38, Daniel Rush finished 57th with a time of 24:59 and Zach Garey finished 76th with a time of 25:24, rounding out the scoring five for the Mustangs.
“This season we’ve had four different guys be the top runner for our men’s team, which demonstrates that we have a very talented group, but just haven’t been able to put it together on the same day,” Schroeder said. “Today we got a little closer to firing on all cylinders, but we still have more work to do.”
TMU finished eighth out of 15 teams. Master’s was the only NAIA team competing in a meet that consisted of mostly NCAA Division I schools.
“To produce our best team effort in the weeks to come, we need to tighten up the ranks between our top-four and close the gap between our four and five,” Schroeder said. “We’re going to take the next three weeks to train hard towards that end. We’ll be sitting out our top-eight next weekend, as we make one final push in preparation for the national championships.”
The sixth-ranked Master’s women put in a strong performance as well, placing 10th out of 17 teams.
“Our girls looked strong and proved they belonged in the invitational heat of the women’s 6K among rigid competition,” Schroeder said. “The girls posted the second-fastest 6K team time in the history of the program.”
Hannah Fredericks finished 29th with a time of 21:23 and Arianna Ghiorso finished 35th with a time of 21:32. Both continued to be a strong one-two punch for the Mustangs.
“Hannah and Ari posted very competitive marks,” Schroeder said. “On the record board, only NAIA national champion Karis Frankian and All-American Holly Kopp have run faster over the 6K distance.”
Beyond the performance on the course, Schroeder is proud of his team as individuals, too.
“Working with this team is such a joy, as we’ve set our sights on worshipping the Lord with our best,” Schroeder said. “Whether in sickness or strength, we choose to worship Him. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worshipped the Lord with our strength today.”
The Mustangs return to competition Saturday at the Warrior Invitational, hosted by William Jessup University.