Top of the Morning

Sept. 18, 2010

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Lions had a strong showing in three races this morning at the UC Riverside Invitational placing 3rd in the Women's Invitational Race and 4th in the Men's Invitational race, while the second squad of LMU women won the Open race. LMU was highlighted by top performances from Junior Tara Erdmann who won the Invitational race in 16:45 while Junior Thomas Finnigan led the men and set a personal record by over a minute for the course.

Just as the sun was coming up over the mountains in Riverside, CA the LMU Cross Country team was warming up for their first full squad race of the fall season. After a long summer of logging miles, the Lions were back in competitive action at the UC Riverside Invitational. Up against some tough competition, the Lions were amidst the top finishers individually and as a team, drawing comments from spectators and fans alike--"that LMU is looking good this season."

On the men's side, the Lions placed fourth overall as a team out of 25 division I teams. Future conference rivals, BYU blew away the competition with a grand total of 26 points to win the Invitational while the Invitational hosts, UC Riverside came in second with 99 points, Sacramento State third with 145, LMU fourth with 145 and CS Fullerton with 152.

The men were led by Junior Thomas Finnigan who placed 27th running a 24:57 for the 8k course. Finnigan who has always been a top runner for the Lions had a break out race today shattering his previous 8k record by almost a minute. Finnigan was followed by freshmen standout Weston Strum who ran 25:04 for the 8k course placing 35th overall. This time is not only an 8k personal best for Strum, but also an LMU freshman record and third all time at LMU for the distance. Next across the line for the Lions was sophomore Tyre Johnson and freshman Kevin Joerger in 25:09 placing 42nd and 43rd. They both set personal bests and broke into the top five All-Time for the 8k at LMU. Rounding out the top five, Sterling Lockert finished the course 30 seconds faster than he did as a freshman, running 25:13 and placing 48th overall. Freshman Drew Dalton was close on Lockert's tail in 25:17 and 54th overall also starting off a strong for his freshman season. The Lions only had a 16 second gap between their 1-5 runners which is a promising statistic that also goes to prove that they could become one of the top teams in California this season.

Also on the men's side Senior Connor Pastoor finished 76th overall in 25:45, Greg Innes had over a ten second personal best of 25:55 for the distance, and Phillip Benavides in his first race back after taking a red shirt season finished in 25:58. Junior Oran Arms also ran a personal best by almost a full minute for the 8k in 26:29, while teammates Mike Evans finished in 26:41, Michael Carlone in 26:56 and Michael Herrera in 27:07. Henry Jordan, Dan Smith and RJ Larrieu all had strong races for their first 8k's as freshmen.

On the women's side the Lions took third as a team in the Invitational race, while Junior Tara Erdmann won the UCR Invitational and sophomore Sheree Shea took fourth. The Lady Lions beat out tough West Region rivals, UCSB and UC Riverside, but were edged out by only eight points by Southern Utah. National power-house University of Arkansas dominated the race totaling only 30 points to win the Invite.

Back off a redhsirt Cross Country season and looking better than ever, Junior Tara Erdmann effortlessly won the invite in 16:45 for the 5k course. After sitting in the top pack for the majority of the race, within the last 800m, Erdmann glided out in front stretching our a comfortable lead to cross the finish as the top female of the day. Sophomore Sheree Shea gritted it out with the top pack for the entire race finishing only behind teammate Erdmann and two runners from Arkansas to place fourth overall. Shea ran 16:55 for the 5k course, breaking 17minutes on the cross country course in her first race of the season. Junior Brieanna Delaney proved that she was competition ready this morning running 17:39 and coming in 21st overall as the Lion's number three runner. Delaney was followed by surprise freshman Alyssa Bellia who had a breakout race placing 23rd overall in 17:41. Bellia who broke eighteen in only her second race this season 5k time put herself in the top three all time freshman times for the 5k at LMU with today's performance. Rounding out the Lady Lion's top five was freshman Michelle Hickerson in 18:20 and 69th overall. Senior Cynthia Chaidez was close behind Hickerson in 18:23, followed by sophomore Caroline Draper in 18:33 and Megan Fairley in 18:38 to give the Lions a deep pack in a crowded and competitive field.

The second squad of LMU women beat out the competition to win the open race over CS San Marcos and Claremont-Mudd with a total of 43 points. In the open race Freshman Brittnie Munoz had a stellar breakout race placing 5th overall in 18:06. Munoz's performance puts her in the top five all-time freshman finishes for the 5k. Sophomore Jessica Mumaugh came in next for the lady Lions in 18:35 placing 12th overall followed by freshman Laura Delgado in 18:58 placing 21st and Kelly Shogren in 19:02 coming in 22nd. Marissa Diehl rounded out the Lion's top five in 19:34 placing 36th overall while Jillian Jaccard also had a solid race in 19:46 and Shea Franklin in 20:31.

Next up, the Lions will race at the ever competitive Stanford Invitational this coming weekend.




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