Runners on the Fort Lewis College cross-country teams ran many of their fastest races ever on Saturday at the UC Riverside Highlander Invitational in California.
Katie Fankhouser and Ethan Bartlett both shattered school records, highlighting quality outings from a flock of Skyhawks.
Competing in a stacked field with teams from both NCAA Division I and II ranks, the Fort Lewis College men's and women's cross-country teams each turned in 10th-place finishes out of the roughly 30 teams that competed.
Bartlett returned to the course and led FLC with a 15th-place finish in the 8K in 24 minutes, 11.5 seconds. His time is a new school record, bettering Christian Gering’s 24:13.2 that he set in 2014.
“I can’t say enough about Ethan,” said FLC head men’s coach Joshua Coon. “A school record in the 8K after working hard for four years is a huge accomplishment. He’s in great company with Christian (Gering) the previous record holder.”
Following Bartlett was Caden Resendez with a 36th-place finish (24:39.8). Coming off a solid outing at the George Strandt Memorial last week, freshman Cebastian Marquez crossed the line in 25:16.8 – good for 74th place. Junior Max Robinson and freshman walk on Bean Minor of Salida rounded out the top five for Fort Lewis, finishing in 77th and 97th.
Fankhouser, meanwhile, continued her dominant junior campaign with a 15th-place finish in 20:48.4 to also set a new school record in the 6K. The Lyons, Colorado, native broke Emily Roser’s record of 21:10.6 that she set in 2006.
Esther Beck followed with a 67th-place finish in 21:51.5 and now sits fifth all-time in the FLC 6K ranks. Angel Curly clocked a 22:00.6, which was good for 74th in the race and eighth all-time for the Skyhawks. Sophia Mena and Carmella Wright rounded out the top five for Fort Lewis in 97th and 99th.
“These women rewrote the record book today, and we will use this momentum moving forward toward the RMAC and regional championships,” said women’s coach Shawn Jakubowski. “The team is leaving California happy but not satisfied. The RMAC is the toughest conference in the country, and we just made it a little stronger. In a few weeks, we plan to make some noise at home.”
As a team, the FLC men finished 10th with 252 points and averaged a time of 25:04. The team average was a significant improvement on the group's 29:00 mark the previous week and the 26:07.7 mark at the Roadrunners Invitational in mid-September. Fort Lewis finished directly ahead of San Diego Mesa College, Central Arizona, Mesa CC, and San Diego with a 1:37 spread. FLC also beat Northern Colorado and Regis. Adams State won the team title with 24 points, beating teams like the University of Colorado (152), Arizona (132) and UCLA (160) for the title.
The FLC women finished 10th as a team with 279 points and an average time of 21:58. The team beat D1 programs UC Santa Barbara, Embry-Riddle, San Diego and CSUSB. Adams State won the team title with 30 points, followed by Cal State Fullerton (70), UCLA (112), Arizona (122) and Colorado (165).
After the strong performances, both FLC teams gained recognition and entered the top 10 in the South Central Regional rankings.
The men's team broke into the regional ranks at No. 10.
The women's team rejoined the regional ranks at No. 9 after originally breaking into the poll at No. 10 in week two. In addition to the regional recognition, the women's team is receiving votes in the national poll for the first time since the 2017 season
Teams from the RMAC dominate the regional poll, with eight of the top men and women’s teams coming from the conference. Colorado School of Mines leads the men’s poll while Adams ranks No. 1 in the women’s poll.
Fort Lewis will now have a couple of weeks off before toeing the line in the RMAC championships. FLC will host the meet at the Hillcrest Golf Club on Nov. 5. The men's 8K will begin at 10:40 a.m., followed by the women's 6K at 11:30 a.m.