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Freshmen Impress in Opener

Sep 4, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO – Stanford's top-five ranked cross country teams opened their seasons on Saturday at the USF Invitational in the fog at Golden Gate Park. 

Evan Burke and Robert DiDonato finished 1-2 to lead Stanford to victory in the men's race with 49 points. The Cardinal women, paced by Audrey DaDamio in sixth, were second to San Francisco, 45-52.

The Cardinal runners reported on Monday and will leave Sunday for a weeklong camp in Bend, Oregon. The team approached Saturday's race as a tempo workout and many Cardinal runners were held out by coaches J.J. Clark, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, and Ricardo Santos. 

Stanford women are ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in the West. The Cardinal men are No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the West. Stanford is the defending Pac-12 champion in both the men's and women's divisions. 


Audrey DaDamio. Photo by John P. Lozano/

Some of Stanford's most impressive performances came from newcomers. In the men's race, five of its seven runners were making there Stanford debuts, including four true freshmen. DiDonato, out of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, was among the leaders throughout. 

Burke, a junior academically and a freshman in eligibility, and DiDonato were each timed in 24:31.8 over the 8-kilometer (4.97-mile) course. Caleb Boutelle (ninth), Nolan Topper (15th), and Galen Topper (33rd) were true freshmen and Nick Feffer (22nd), a graduate transfer from Dartmouth, represented Stanford for the first time as well. 

DaDamio, in her collegiate debut, stayed with a Stanford pack for most of the race, before making a push over the last of three 2,000-meter laps, passing several runners before finishing in 21:34.2 over 6 kilometers (3.73 miles). Audrey Suarez also made her debut, finishing 24th. 

Stanford next competes at the Florida State Open on Sept. 17 on this year's NCAA championship course at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee. 
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USF Invitational 
At Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

8 kilometers (4.97 miles)
Team: 1, Stanford 49; 2, California 66; 3, Saint Mary's 78; 4, Stanislaus State 82; 5, Nevada 125; 6, San Francisco 149; 7, Santa Clara 189; 8, Cal State East Bay 197; 9, Dominican 275; 10, Academy of Art 288; 11, UC Santa Cruz 308; 12, William Jessup 362; 13, Holy Names 368.
Winner and Stanford individuals: 1, Evan Burke (Stanford) 24:31.8; 2, Robert DiDonato (Stanford) 24:34.8; 9, Caleb Boutelle (Stanford) 24:51.4; 15, Nolan Topper (Stanford) 25:07.1; 22, Nick Feffer (Stanford) 25:30.8; 33, Galen Topper (Stanford) 25:53.9; 39, Liam Conway (Stanford) 26:00.3. 

6K (3.73 miles)
1, San Francisco 45; 2, Stanford 52; 3, Gonzaga 97; 4, Santa Clara 97; 5, Loyola Marymount 144; 6, Nevada 146; 7, Saint Mary's 162; 8, Stanislaus State 187; 9, Academy of Art 258; 10, Dominican 319; 11, UC Santa Cruz 325; 12, William Jessup 333.
Winner and Stanford individuals: 1, Tierney Wolfgram (Nevada) 20:47.9; 6, Audrey DaDamio (Stanford) 21:34.2; 10, Lucy Jenks (Stanford) 21:54.8; 11, Rebecca Story (Stanford) 21:55.3; 12, Christina Aragon (Stanford) 21:55.3; 17, Lily Flynn (Stanford) 22:03.1; 24, Audrey Suarez (Stanford) 22:19.2; 31, Kristin Fahy (Stanford) 22:24.1; 38, Jessica Lawson (Stanford) 22:35.0; 57, Tori Starcher (Stanford) 23:12.8; 65, Aubrey Roberts (Stanford) 23:22.9.

Photo by John P. Lozano/