Stanford's Thomas Ratcliffe Goes 23:17 In Cross Country Lifetime Debut

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4:01 miler Thomas Ratcliffe never ran a single cross country race in high school. The son of KIMbia agent Tom Ratcliffe played soccer during the fall in high school, and the plan was for Stanford to redshirt him while he got accumulated to college training and racing. After all, 10K is more than triple the distance of any race he ran in high school, according to his MileSplit profile.

But the Cardinal may want to rethink that redshirt after today. Competing unattached at the Stanford Invitational, Ratcliffe won the 8K in 23:17. Among Stanford athletes, only Sean McGorty, Chris Derrick, Maksim Korolev, and Joe Rosa have ever run faster at that meet. None of those four ran more than ten seconds faster than Ratcliffe's time; all were cross country All-Americans in the season they ran the time; and Korolev, Derrick, and McGorty finished top ten at nationals in those seasons.

It was an extremely fast day on the course--the top three all ran top-15 times in meet history. But Ratcliffe is still in very good company.

Rk Year Time Athlete School Season Finish
01 2007 23:07 Scott Bauhs Chico State (DII) 10th at USATF XC Champs
01 2015 23:07 Sean McGorty Stanford 7th at NCAA XC Champs
03 2007 23:12 Aron Rono Azusa Pacific (NAIA) 1st at NAIA XC Champs
04 2011 23:15 Chris Derrick Stanford 2nd at NCAA XC Champs
05 2014 23:16 Joe Rosa Stanford 33rd at NCAA XC Champs
05 2014 23:16 Maksim Korolev Stanford 4th at NCAA XC Champs
07 2016 23:17 Thomas Ratcliffe Stanford TBD
08 2010 23:18 David McNeill Northern Arizona 123rd at NCAA XC Champs
09 2016 23:19 Emmanuel Rotich Tulane TBD
10 2011 23:21 Jake Riley Stanford 18th at NCAA XC Champs
11 2010 23:22 Elliott Heath Stanford 42nd at NCAA XC Champs
11 2010 23:22 Jake Riley Stanford 6th at NCAA XC Champs
11 2010 23:22 Chris Derrick Stanford 5th at NCAA XC Champs
11 2011 23:22 Jon Peterson UC Davis 71st at NCAA XC Champs
11 2016 23:22 Swarnjit Boyal Cal Poly TBD
16 2011 23:23 Erik Olson Stanford 127th at NCAA XC Champs
17 2005 23:24 Josh McDougal Liberty 4th at NCAA XC Champs
18 2007 23:25 David Torrence California 62nd at NCAA XC Champs
19 2002 23:27 Ian Dobson Stanford 9th at NCAA XC Champs
20 2010 23:29 Michael Coe California 91st at NCAA XC Champs
21 2010 23:30 Solomon Haile Arkansas 17th at NCAA XC Champs
21 2016 23:30 Clayton Hutchins Cal Poly TBD
23 2006 23:31 Neftalem Araia Stanford 2nd at NCAA XC Champs
24 2015 23:33 Grant Fisher Stanford 17th at NCAA XC Champs
Stanford coach Chris Miltenberg is generally loath to race freshmen--he redshirted entire male freshman classes in 2012 and 2014. But after the first cross country race of his life, Ratcliffe might be the best true freshman in the country. We've seen their entire squad short of McGorty, Grant Fisher, and Alex Ostberg; they need the depth that Ratcliffe can provide. Miltenberg has to make a decision: will he take the redshirt off Ratcliffe in November?

​Gordon Mack contributed to this report

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