Lions "On Fire" at Cal Poly Invite
LMU notches second, fourth place finishes in final test before WCC Championship.
Oct. 16, 2005
San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Loyola Marymount cross country continued its trend of getting better every time out this season, as the squads recorded second and fourth place finishes at Saturday's Cal Poly Invitational. This weekend served as the final test before the October 29 West Coast Conference Championship.
"After three weeks off, it was good to get back into it," Head Coach Scott Guerrero said, "and they did not disappoint. The women were on fire."
LMU finished second of 12 teams on the women's side, with each of the top seven Lions posting a career best time for the 5000m distance. The team time of 92:42, (an average of 18:32 for the scoring five) smashes the record of 95:20 (19:04 average) that LMU set just one month ago at the San Diego State Aztec Invitational. The new record means the Lions have set a new team time mark every time they have stepped onto the course this season.
Sara and Laura Mickelson once again led the Lions and both finished ahead of 2003 West Coast Conference Individual Champion and reigning WCC Runner of the Month Tiffany Marley of San Diego. Fellow sophomore Brittany Rezowalli finished just nine seconds behind Marley.
Five of LMU's top seven runners Saturday were freshmen and sophomores, with only one graduating senior in the mix in Lara Del Rio. Freshman Abby Fall cracked the top five for the first time in her career, peeling 1:47 off her previous collegiate best, which came at the Aztec Invitational. "Everyone had a stellar race," Guerrero said, "but freshman Abby Fall looked especially promising."
UC Santa Barbara did run a "B" squad Saturday, but the second place Lions defeated every other Division I team's top runners with the exception of winners UC Irvine. Pepperdine finished sixth, while San Diego placed seventh.
On the men's side, sophomore Lino Almeida finished among the top-10 and ran over a minute faster than his freshman time last season on this course. It was once again the Lions' depth that provided the boost, as their two through five runners crossed the line within 29 seconds of each other. Their overall one through five gap was just 1:24, even with Almeida placing himself among the top-10.
In 2004, Adam Bacon led the Lions to a team time of 140:26 (an average of 28:05) at the Cal Poly Invitational. This year without their captain, the Lions managed to run 139:19 (a 27:52 average). Similar to the women's squad, four of the Lions' top seven runners were freshmen and sophomores, with only one graduating senior in Kenny Arehart.
Junior Reynaldo Barrera ran at the second spot for the Lions for the first time in his career. He helped the Lions finish fourth as a team, ahead of Pepperdine, San Diego, and Johns Hopkins. Host Cal Poly, who won the title Saturday, is currently ranked 10th in the nation.
"I am very pleased with our effort today," Guerrero said.
The Lions will now prepare for the West Coast Conference Championship to be held in San Jose on Saturday, October 29th.
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