Van Geffen, Pietrzyk, Commodores rise to occasion at Notre Dame

Oct. 3, 2015

Event: Notre Dame Invitational
Day, Date: Friday, Oct. 2
Host: Notre Dame
Site: Burke Course
Results: HERE

Head coach Steve Keith knew that the Commodores would need to be at their best on Friday. And sure enough, they were.

Competing in the tradition-steeped Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, the No. 22 Vanderbilt women had seven runners set new personal records as the Commodores earned an impressive fourth-place finish. Freshman Caroline Pietrzyk, the reigning SEC Freshman Runner of the week, posted a personal-best time of 16:56.3 to lead the VU women and earn 17th place overall.

On the men’s side, Jake Van Geffen ran to an 11th-place finish with a personal-best time of 25:08.7 for the Commodores, who took 13th place in the Men’s Gold 5-mile race.

“This was a very productive trip for us,” said Keith. “We are making the type of progress you want to see. … All in all, across the board, it was just a really good day for us.”

Pietrzyk’s performance continued her early-season surge. She has now been the Commodores’ top finisher in each of her first three college races.

“Caroline ran a great race,” said associate head coach Rhonda Riley. “She really stuck her nose out into the competition, and was very aggressive — and that’s a great approach, especially from a freshman.”

Pietrzyk was joined in the top-30 by two of her teammates — Vanessa Valentine was 27th with a PR of 17:09.4, and Sara Barron was 30th with a PR of 17:11.7. Vanderbilt freshman Sara Tsai took a tumble early in the race but recovered nicely to finish 35th with a PR of 17:15.7, and Reagan Anderson also PR’ed while taking 41st at 17:20.0.

New Mexico, ranked No. 1 in the latest USTFCCCA poll, won the meet in strong fashion, finishing with 29 points, and No. 14-ranked NC State (74 points) was second. Host Notre Dame (143) took third, Vanderbilt (150) was fourth and Utah (164) was fifth among the 21-team the Blue Division field.

All of Vanderbilt’s representatives finished in the upper half of the field, including Carmen Carlos (who took 48th with a PR of 17:24.6), Megan Huebner (59th with a PR of 17:30.7), Maddie Criscione (75th with a PR of 17:41.3) and Lily Williams (90th at 17:52.4).

Vanderbilt’s top five finishers in the women’s race had a spread of just 24 seconds, and the Commodores’ top seven runners were separated by only 35 seconds.

“That’s the type of grouping that we’ve been know for — and will continue to be known for,” said Keith.

The Commodores also had a strong showing in the women’s open race, with three runners in the top-30. Freshman Devon Grisbaum led the way for VU and earned a spot in the Top-10, finishing with a time of 18:14.2 to take 10th. Courtney Krieghauser was 25th at 18:35.5, Ginger Hutton was 27th at 18:38.5 and Rebecca Jacobson was 50th at 19:14.1.

In the men’s race, Van Geffen stayed among the lead group from start to finish during his impressive performance.

“Jake just looked great,” said Keith. “And for a coach, that is something that is truly fun to watch — seeing an athlete have a breakthrough like that. He really enjoyed himself today.”

Vanderbilt’s Nick French was 53rd at 25:45.0, Jason Vincze was 76th at 26:07.2, Evan Suzman was 107th at 26:39.4 and Nikos Glotsis was 118th with a time of 26:57.1. Waqqas Fazili had a time of 27:09.1, Caleb Casolaro finished at 26:16.0 and Sam DeFabrizio finished at 28:38.8.

17 – Caroline Pietrzyk – 16:56.3
27 – Vanessa Valentine – 17:09.4
30 – Sara Barron – 17:11.7
35 – Sara Tsai – 17:15.7
41 – Reagan Anderson – 17:20.0
48 – Carmen Carlos – 17:24.6
59 – Megan Huebner – 17:30.7
75 – Maddie Criscione – 17:41.3
90 – Lily Williams – 17:52.4

10 Devon Grisbaum – 18:14.2
25 Courtney Krieghauser – 18:35.5
27 Ginger Hutton – 18:38.5
50 Rebecca Jacobson – 19:14.1

84 – Sam Reilly – 27:38.2

11 – Jake Van Geffen – 25:08.7
53 – Nick French – 25:45.0
76 – Jason Vincze – 26:07.2
107 – Evan Suzman – 26:39.4
118 – Nikos Glotsis – 26:57.1