Polerecky Improves on 10K School Record; 10 Additional Career Bests
Men and Women Claim Top Collegiate Positions and LMU Alum Win
This Meet Marks First Outdoor Competition For Lions This Season
Shanahan, Vorgitch, Polerecky And Beitia Competed For LMU
Weston Strum will represent the Lion men and five women, including two freshmen, will all head to Fayetteville, Ark., for the NCAA DI OUtdoor Track & Field West Preliminary.
Oxy Distance Carnival Classic Preview. LMU Sports Network spoke with head coach Scott Guerrero, athletes Danielle Shanahan and Jack Polerecky before the big race.
Guerrero has spent a decade and a half building the Lions' distance running program, including the addition of men's and women's track & field as NCAA sanctioned sports in the spring of 2006. Over the past fifteen years he has built the program from the bottom up, taking it from being virtually unknown to a distance force in the West Coast Conference and an rising program in the western region.
The 2011-12 campaign resulted in fantastic achievements for LMU Cross Country & Track. The teams were led by the individual accomplishments of Tara Erdmann who finished her collegiate career with her sixth and seventh All-American honors, in cross-country and indoor track respectively. Erdmann's remarkable season included a record third individual West Coast Conference championship, breaking her own conference record by 20 seconds finishing the course in 20:01. She also swept the WCC Runner of the Month award, winning it each month during the 2011 cross-country season. Erdmann finished the school year by being named the LMU Female Athlete of the Year for a second time and nearly qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in the 5k.
The teams had great performances in cross-country as the women won at the Asics Season Opener, UC Riverside Invitational, and placed third at the Vanguard Invitational, while the men also gained a victory at the UC Riverside Invite and finished third at the Titan Invitational.
On the track, Drew Dalton recorded the second-fastest time at the West Coast All-Star Mile in Portland, Ore. in January and set a new UCI Spring Break Invite and school record in the 3000m, and broke another school record at the Stanford Invitational in the 5000m. Michael Carlone established a new mark in the 3k steeplechase at the Long Beach State Invitational, before breaking it at the Oxy Invitational.
Continuing a tradition of academic excellence, LMU Cross Country & Track had 26 individuals qualify for national scholar-athlete honors, including Tara Erdmann who was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team and received first-team WCC All-Academic honors, and Weston Strum, who also received first-team WCC All-Academic honors.
In 2010-11, the program set new standards for individual achievement. Tara Erdmann became the program's first cross-country All-American, in addition to earning her third and fourth track & field All-American honors. Erdmann's remarkable year saw her post the 3rd best time from the West at the NCAA National Championships in cross country, win individual titles at the WCC Championships, UC Riverside Invitational, Stanford Invitational in track, West Coast Invitational, Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Heptathlon, and record the fastest 10,000m time in NCAA Division I for the year. Freshman Weston Strum was named LMU Cross Country Athlete of the Year as he finished 10th at the WCC Championships to cap off a successful first cross-country season. Sophomore Sterling Lockert followed up a Freshman of the Year performance with a 12th place finish at the WCC Championships. The Lions finished in the top four at the WCC Championships, and return their top runners in 2011-12, along with some exciting new additions that should make them strong contenders for a conference title.
In 2009-10, the Lions had yet another groundbreaking and record setting year. Both squads improved on their success setting school records in every distance track event, placing in the top two at conference again and having their highest regional finish in history. The men placed second at West Coast Conference Championships to Portland for the third year in a row placing their top five in the top fifteen overall. They matched the program's highest ever finish in school history at NCAA West Regionals. On the track, the men broke school records in the 800m, 1500m, 5k and 10k with four men joining the sub 15 club in the 5k. On the women's side, the Lions beat Portland at conference for the first time in school history, but were edged out of the WCC title by San Francisco, even with placing its top 5 in the top overall 15. Freshman Shereee Shea was honored as LMU's third straight WCC Freshman of the year for a second place overall finish and went on to place in the top 25 at NCAA West Regionals. Junior Tara Erdmann earned All-American honors in the 10k and set four school records and was nationally ranked in four events throughout the season. LMU also had the most women ever, three, qualify for NCAA Regionals.
2008-2009 was a landmark year for Guerrero's Lions as both squads had historical performances at the WCC Championships. The women notched their best team score in school history, placing three runners in the top ten, including sophomore Tara Erdmann as the individual WCC Champion. These efforts put the Lions within five points of Portland and the coveted team title as well as continued consecutive top three placements over the past four years. In addition to Erdmann's individual title, which is the second LMU individual title in the past three years, LMU's strong recruiting was recognized as for the second year in a row a Lion, freshman Brieanna Delaney, received the honor of WCC Freshman of the Year. The men's dramatic second place finish at conference was the closest margin in a thirty-year history for Portland and the lowest team total in LMU school history. Portland also placed three runners in the top ten and finished second for the second year in a row. In response, for the third time in four years, Guerrero was named WCC Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Tara Erdmann's 14th place finish at NCAA regionals qualified her for the NCAA cross-country championships where she placed 78th overall, becoming the second Lion ever to compete at the national level for Cross Country. In the 2010 season, Erdmann made yet another appearance at NCAA's when she qualified in the 10000m for track and earned All-American honors for a 6th place overall finish.
In 2007, the LMU women turned in a third-place finish at the WCC Championship, pushing the program record of consecutive top-three finishes on the women's side to three consecutive years. On the regional level, for the third consecutive year, the women finished in the top-15 at the talent-filled NCAA West Region Championship, running the 6K course in an average time of 21:59, which is now the fastest team average on any course in LMU history. Laura Mickelson finished her distinguished LMU career by earning a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. In 2007, Guerrero helped the El Segundo, Calif. native to three National Championship appearances, All-Region Honors, a WCC individual title and numerous individual invitational titles while setting multiple course and meet records over Mickelson's four-year stint at LMU.
In 2006, Guerrero and West Coast Conference Champion Mickelson led the LMU women to a third-place finish, while the men placed fifth. For the women, Mickelson captured the individual title and went on to advance to the 2006 NCAA National Cross Country Championship, becoming the first Lion to compete on the national stage. In the spring 2007 track season, Guerrero guided Mickelson to her second straight NCAA Regional appearance in 5000m. Mickelson went on to earn the distinction of Academic All-American, becoming just the eighth Lion to earn the title in any sport in LMU's history.
In 2005, the WCC Cross Country Coach of the Year led the LMU women to a second place finish, placing three runners in the top-10 for the first time in school history. On the men's side, the Lions finished third, their highest finish since 1981. Lino Almeida became the highest-placing Lion in LMU men's history, finishing fourth overall. The Lions also made great strides at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Regionals. The women placed 14th in the region, LMU's highest finish ever, that finish earned the Lions their first regional ranking in the coaches' poll.
A collegiate runner himself, Guerrero earned varsity letters in both cross-country and track & field while competing at Tulane University in New Orleans. In his senior year, he served as captain of the cross-country squad. Throughout his athletic career, Guerrero has completed several marathons including Los Angeles (1991, 1993), Boston (1992, 1996, 2002) and New York (1994). Coach Guerrero still runs with his team and competes in local races.
Guerrero began his coaching career at the high school level where he spent three years teaching and coaching at Compton High School in Compton, CA. There he had his first taste of coaching success with an individual athlete, coaching a state championship participant in 1991 who went on to become an All-American in college.
In 1995, Guerrero coached at Chadwick High School in Palos Verdes, CA, and by 1997, had led the Chadwick girls' team to their first-ever state championship appearance and 3rd place overall finish. "What I learned very quickly was that I really enjoyed building teams," Guerrero said. Evidence of the program Guerrero built at Chadwick, the girls have since won three state titles and the boys made their first-ever appearance at the state meet in 2002 and finished fifth. For his efforts, Guerrero was honored as Prep League Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1997. Guerrero left Chadwick after the 1997 season to take the then-part-time coaching position at LMU. "I took the LMU position for many of the same reasons. I wanted to have a hand in building something from the ground up. That's what we want to do here at LMU: we want to build a championship program."
Guerrero holds a B.A. in French and International Relations from Tulane University. He also earned his M.A. in Education from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1993. He holds a Level II certification from USA Track & Field.
Guerrero lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife, Alison, and their three children, Miles, Gabriella, and Louie.
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