LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 23, 2019) – Junior Claire Hu (Palo Alto, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) of the Caltech women's cross country team represented the Beavers at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday and debuted with a 126th-place finish on Saturday morning at Tom Sawyer State Park.
The third-year competitor endured extremely difficult conditions to finish in the top half of a field consisting of 277 runners while improving her standing among regional competitors by one place. Although she started slow, Hu went on to move up 142 spots after the first kilometer to clock in at 23:01.80. Hu is the first Beaver to represent the women's team at nationals in 25 years since Cailin Henderson in 1994, having qualified for the race with a ninth-place finish at the regional race last weekend.
"The NCAA Championships make up the most chaotic race experience we have at this level," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "The mud and weather only served to add to that. There were runners falling and pace carts sliding off the course. Given those factors, Claire acquitted herself great over the latter stages of the race. It was also an important and historic step for our women's team. We're happy with our progress and looking forward to building off this season."
Hu and Raphelson will now turn their attention to the outdoor track & field season this spring, when the junior will vie for a SCIAC title and look to improve upon program records in the 5000m and 10000m races.