May 21, 2010
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
Earlier this morning, the NCAA posted the accepted entries for the West Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championship Meet, in which for the first time in LMU history, three Lions were accepted into the competitive meet. Junior Tara Erdmann and sophomore Cassandra Salazar will be racing the 10k while freshman Sheree Shea is entered in the 5k. Not only will these ladies be representing LMU against some of the top competition in the nation, these lady Lions will also have a chance to continue on to the NCAA National Championships.
This is only the fifth season that LMU has had Track as an official NCAA sanctioned sport, however in that short time, Scott Guerrero and the LMU Lions have catapulted onto the regional and national level of competition with impressive success. Next weekend will be yet another indicator of the great success and improvement that the LMU distance program has achieved over the past few years. With three women in the top distance events (10k and 5k) LMU will be well represented in arguably the toughest distance region in the nation.
Junior Tara Erdmann has truly had a remarkable season thus far. Throughout this spring, Erdmann was nationally ranked in all three distance events (1500m, 5k and 10k), set four school and personal records, and was even ranked 9th in the world for the 10k distance. Erdmann has only been humble and poised under any pressure or spotlight that ultimately comes with such success and has continued to diligently train towards the ultimate goal of going to nationals. Earlier this week, Track and Field News projected Erdmann to finish as high as third in the 10k next weekend. Erdmann ran the 10k in March at the Stanford Invitational, where she clocked a huge personal record of 33:22. This fast time not only gave her the school record but also national recognition as one of the fastest times raced all season. In other events, Erdmann also found great success running all-time bests of 4:24 for the 1500m and 15:55 for the 5k this spring, and a 9:19 for a indoor 3k.
Also scheduled to race in the 10k with teammate Erdmann is sophomore Cassandra Salazar
. Salazar was recently nominated for the most-improved LMU athlete for the success that has only crescendo into track season. In Cross Country, Salazar established herself as one of the Lions top runners consistently placing in the Lions top five all season, however when spring rolled around, Salazar hit a whole new level of performance. In April, Salazar clocked a 34:59 for the 10k just slipping under the difficult 35minute barrier. With this huge achievement, Salazar is poised to take the regional stage in the distance that she has found the most success this season.
Competing in the 5k for the Lions, is standout freshman Sheree Shea. Shea led the Lions all Cross Country season earning the WCC Freshman of the Year for a second place finish at the Conference Championships. This track season she has not slowed her success or determination to become one of the Lion's top distance runners. She broke 17minutes for the 5k consistently in three races with a personal best of 16:50 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational hosted by Stanford University on May 1st. Shea is no stranger to tough competition and high pressure meets, even as a freshman; in Cross Country she placed in the top 25 at the Regional meet in Oregon, the top finish ever by and LMU freshman.
Head Coach Scott Guerrero commented, "It is a huge success for us to have three LMU women in the top distance races in the country. I think they can each do very well and carry the LMU tradition to nationals."
The NCAA West Regional meet is scheduled for March 27th-30th in Austin Texas.
For complete entries see Outdoor West Preliminary Championships