Lions finish 3rd and 4th at Conference Championships

Oct. 30, 2010

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Another successful West Coast Conference Championships went down in the record books this morning at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course. LMU's Tara Erdmann won the individual title and set the women's 6k course record in 20:21. Sophomore Sheree Shea ran an all-time best for the 6k on a difficult course and came in third overall. For the men, Weston Strum led the Lions as a freshman placing 10th overall in 25:30. As a team, the women placed third overall while the men placed fourth overall.

In true northern California fashion, it was a foggy slightly rainy morning in Belmont, California. The Crystal Springs course was packed with fans from across the conference decked out in colored jerseys and gear. As the fog began to lift, leaving pockets of fog in the valleys throughout the course, for the LMU Lions it turned into a morning where every point and place mattered.

For the women, the Lions placed third overall as a team behind San Francisco and Portland. The San Francisco Don's repeated back-to-back team titles taking first with 38 points while Portland came in second with 71 points while the Lions took a close third with 76 points.

LMU's Tara Erdmann took the individual title leading the race uncontested from the get go. Erdmann set a grueling pace as she chased down the course record finishing in 20:21 for the hilly 6k Crystal Springs course. This individual title gives Erdmann two individual West Coast Conference titles over her collegiate career and is arguably one of the best runners in conference history. Sophomore Sheree Shea gutted out a grueling race to finish third for the Lions. Within the last mile, San Francisco's top two runners caught up with Shea, but in true competitive form Shea continued to push through the difficult final loop to finish ahead of the Dons getting third overall in 20:48. This time was also a career personal record for the 6k on a difficult and hilly course.

Freshman Brittnie Munoz stepped up finishing third for the Lions, placing 16th overall in 21:51. Munoz had scored for the Lions as the number five runner earlier this season, but had a break out race this morning on a difficult course and against tough competition. Junior Brieanna Delaney was close behind Munoz finishing in 21:56 running her best time on this course in her collegiate career placing 19th overall. Jessica Mumaugh also stepped up for the Lions as their number five scoring runner placing 37th overall in 23:13. Finally Senior Cynthia Chaidez finished 39th overall for the Lions in 23:17. 

On the men's side, the Lions placed fourth overall behind the Portland Pilots, San Francisco and Santa Clara. The long reigning champions, the Portland Pilots had a team total of only 36 points after Craig Hopkins of Portland beat out two San Francisco runners at the line to win the individual title. San Francisco looked close to upsetting Portland with a three runners in the top ten, but finished second in 43 points. Santa Clara edged out LMU by only one point to finish third with 96 points while LMU had 97 points.

Freshman Weston Strum led the Lions with a top ten finish in 25:30. On a tough 8k course Strum raced with some of the top competition in the west region to finish 10th overall. Close behind Strum, Sophomore Sterling Lockert placed 12th overall in 25:40 for a top fifteen finish for two straight years at this meet. Loyola Marymount had a strong pack to round out their top five finishing all together: freshman Drew Dalton placed 24th in 26:17, Tyre Johnson placed 25th in 26:17 and Connor Pastoor placed 26th in 26:17. This strong pack gave the Lions a good look at finishing in the top three, but were edged out by one point by Santa Clara. Also for the LMU men, Greg Innes had a strong race for his first time running this 8k course in college. Innes finished 29th overall in 26:26 while teammate Phillip Benavides rounded out the Lion's top seven in 26:30 and 31st overall.

It was a day of tough breaks for the Lions, where every point and place counted. Even with strong individual success from Erdmann and Shea for the women and Strum and Lockert for the men, both the men and women were edged out in team totals by less than five points. Overall the Lions were able to continue their conference success with an individual title and two top five finishes.




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