St. Margaret's Cross Country Teams Battle At Gaucho Invitational

The Tartans competed at UC Santa Barbara this past weekend.
The Tartan cross country squads opened the season this past weekend at the Gaucho Invitational on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. The seaside race course featured six ranked teams from the Southern Section and Northern California perennial power De La Salle of Concord.
"We are honored to start another season as a top-ranked team in Southern California, but we understand that those rankings have no impact on winning a CIF title," said St. Margaret's head coach Patrick Bendzick. "Our job is to seek out the best competition possible and maximize every opportunity to improve. The Gaucho Invitational was a great experience for our team, but it also set the tone for the work ahead as we prepare for the championship portion of the season in November."
All-CIF and All-State standout senior Everett Capelle picked up where he left off in 2022, finishing second in 15:15 after challenging Trey Caldwell of De La Salle late in the race for the win. The nationally ranked Caldwell finished the 2022 season as one of the best in the state, and Capelle proved he can run with anyone this season.
On the girls side, the duo of Joyce Li and Sarah Bendzick continue to be strong front-runners in any caliber of field. Li finished 4th overall, while Bendzick was 6th. The team's overall depth will hinge on the freshman quartet of Catherine Pappas, Lauren Driver, Cate Heyming, and Kaya DeCarlo, all of which had strong showings in their respective races.
"I was impressed with how our young athletes responded to a somewhat unconventional race course," said Bendzick. "From the crowded start line to the set of stairs two miles into the race, there were challenges around every corner. None of them balked at the difficulty, and the tenacity with which they approached these obstacles is a tremendous sign of their potential. It was not a particularly fast course, so I'm excited to see what they can do in the next few weeks."
The Tartans will race locally this Saturday, September 9, at the Laguna Hills Invitational. Races start at 7:45 a.m. on the Laguna Hills High School track and continue around a 3-mile loop of the campus.
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