On The Right Track

Feb. 19, 2006

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount University track team opened its inaugural season Saturday by competing in the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers meet hosted by Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. The Lions recorded several top-10 finishes, including the program's first official event title from sophomore Laura Mickelson.

Under Cross Country/Track Head Coach Scott Guerrero, the LMU cross country teams have run in spring track meets for the last three years. However, until last Friday, track was not an officially sanctioned varsity sport at LMU.

"It was a good day for us and a great way for us to open our first `official' track season," Guerrero said. "We have competed in these events in years past, yet we still saw a number of records fall today even though this is our season opener and our squad consists of mostly freshmen and sophomores."

The men kicked-off the day by competing in the 3000m run. Junior captain Drew Haberkorn finished 10th in 8:59.47, breaking the 3000m school record of 9:10.39 set by Adam Bacon in 2004. Freshman Trevor Wiseman was also under the old record in 9:07.27. Other top Lion finishers included junior Reynaldo Barrera (9:12.21) and sophomore Jon MacNeil (9:20.8).

Next on the track was the women's 3000m run and the Lions did not disappoint. The previous record at the distance was set two years ago at this same meet by Kristen Gonzalez in 10:50.42. On Saturday, four women ran under the old mark, all of them either freshmen or sophomores. The sophomore trio of Mickelson (first in 10:00.09), Sara Mickelson (third in 10:02.6) and Brittany Rezowalli (seventh in 10:36.8) sounds familiar to Lion fans, as the three led the Lions to their highest finish ever at the WCC Cross Country Championships in 2005. Freshman Abby Fall was the next LMU finisher in 10:49.4 Saturday.



"We had several top-10 finishes Saturday, highlighted by Laura Mickelson becoming the first individual female to win an event in our brief `track' history," Guerrero said.

Lions also made history in the men's 400m run, as it was the first time that LMU has ever participated in the event on the track. Freshman Adam Stebbins now owns the school record, finishing sixth overall in a time of 52.29 seconds. Fellow freshman Sean Cain also competed in the event for the Lions, breaking the tape in 59.55 seconds.

In the men's 800m run, LMU had one participant in newcomer Benjamin Zenk, who finished 13th overall in 2:10.77. The freshman from Kamuela, Hawaii competed in track and cross country in high school and joined the team in the spring after the addition of the track program.

The women's 800m run saw another school record fall. Sophomore Claudia Bishop finished third overall in 2:21.5, eclipsing the record of 2:22.31 which she set last year as a freshman. "I was really happy with my race today," Bishop said. "Last year I ran 2:22 at the last race of the season, so to run faster than that today at our first race is encouraging."

The final event of the day for the Lions was the mile run. In the men's race, newcomer Mo Elmi was the Lions' top finisher, covering the distance in 4:39.44. He was followed closely by freshmen Wiseman (4:40.45) and Kacy Sommers (4:42.31). In the women's race, Bishop set her second school record of the day by finishing second overall in 5:18.83. Junior Kristen Gonzalez was fifth overall in 5:23.80.

"We had a number of individuals compete today for the first time under the Lion jersey, so clearly the addition of track as an official sport has already generated some interest and some excitement," Guerrero said. "I think the future looks very promising, and I look very much forward to elevating our running programs at Loyola Marymount to a higher level. Today was a good start."

Next up for LMU track is the Long Beach Relays March 4.



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