For the first time in team history, three women’s cross country athletes were named all-conference after finishing in the top 15 in the CCAA Championship race on Friday, Sept. 22.
“That’s a big accomplishment for us and the program,” head coach Kendra Reimer said.
The Gators also broke, or came close to breaking, multiple San Francisco State records.
“For us, it’s a historic finish. We had the fastest team time ever in our recorded history. They ran an average time of 22:09,” Reimer said. “It was the second lowest team score and Camille (Hansen) had the second fastest time (in school history). It’s the first time we’ve had three girls run in the 21’s in the 5k at the same time. This is probably one of the best groups of distance runners we’ve had ever with the program.”
The three women who finished all-conference were seniors Camille Hansen, who finished in eighth place, Adriana Calva, who finished in 10th place, and Magali Arsiniega, who finished in 12th place.
The surprise of the group was Hansen, who had not been the top finisher on the team all season, Reimer said.
“I don’t really know how I did what I did in the conference championships, I really surprised myself,” Hansen said. “I really just did what my coach (Assistant coach Mike Tomasello) told me to do. I stuck with one person in the first race and after that he told me to run with someone else and I did it. Third lap I heard ‘1000 left’ and I just went for it. Then I saw my teammates and I was catching up with them. I didn’t think I was going to actually catch them, and then I caught them.”
All three runners that made all-conference are seniors and have come a long way, Reimer said.
“Something really interesting about our girls is that none of them came in as superstars,” Reimer said. “They were all kind of under the radar and weren’t very developed when they got here.”
Hansen and Calva have been students at SF State for four years and have developed over their time under the tutelage of Reimer and assistant coach Mike Tomasello. Arsiniega, though, came from community college and had a lot of learning to do in a shorter amount of time.
“Last year I was new to the conference. Coming from community college, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Arsiniega said. “It was very hard from the gun. I feel like I’ve grown as an athlete because I actually understand how to race now. Last year I think it was 30 or 40 in the CCAA and this year I finished 12.”
Hansen and Calva echoed the sentiment of growth over their time as SF State. Hansen said she didn’t even know how to run a cross country race when she enrolled, and Calva said she showed constant improvement.
“My freshman year I was very average, I wasn’t competitive at all,” Calva said. “I came second to last at conference. Then every year I got a little more confident, built up my mileage, got some great coaching and every year I just got a little bit better.”
The improvement of all three women helped lead the Gators to a spot in the regional championship event Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 in Monmouth, Oregon. The Gators finished 14 overall as a team, but did not move on.