LMU Cross Country Déjà-vu
Both the Men and Women's teams take second at WCC Cross Country Championships
Oct. 31, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - It was a foggy morning in Belmont, California where both the LMU men and women's Cross Country teams took second place at the WCC Cross Country Championships. While you could barely see through the thick morning fog to follow the course, the air was tense with anticipation as the teams began to line up for the start of the first race. Fans and supporters lined the course bundled up in everything from collegiate sweatshirts to body paint and Halloween costumes.
For the men, LMU senior Brian McDonald once again led the Lions. His 6th place overall finish matched his performance last year, however against a tougher field he set a quicker pace and broke the school record for the 8k course by fifteen seconds in 25:14. Even through a fog where you could barely see the runner ten feet ahead of you, McDonald led a close pack of LMU men across the line. The gap between the Lion's top scoring five was less than 30 seconds. Freshman Sterling Lockert broke the freshman record on the course for the Lions in 25:32 placing 9th overall and establishing himself as not only one of the best freshmen in the conference, but also a formidable threat for years to come. Senior Daniel LaCava stepped up for the Lion's in a high pressure race just missing top ten, placing 12th overall in 25:40. In arguably his best race all season, freshman Tyre Johnson was close behind LaCava for the Lion's turning in another low finish placing 13th overall in 25:41. As a freshman, Johnson came through as somewhat of a wildcard, being that he has run the number seven spot all season, he proved that he has great potential for the future. Rounding out the top five, sophomore Thomas Finnigan raced healthy this year placing 14th overall in 25:43 putting the Lion's top five within the top fifteen overall. Junior Connor Pastoor and Scott Donahue also turned in good performances for the Lion's placing 36th and 39th overall in 26:37 and 26:44 respectively.
Ranked at no. 8 nationally, Portland captured the team title for the 31st year in a row with 34 total points while sophomore from Portland, Alfred Kipchumba captured the individual title. However even while Portland continued their reign over the West Coast Conference, the LMU men proved that they were a lot better than they were given credit for this season. With less than 30 seconds between their 1-5 runners, they are bound to have continued success at west Regionals in two weeks in Eugene, Oregon. Plus the Lion's also showed that they were bound to only get better with two of their top five as only freshmen. LMU Senior Brian McDonald shattered the school record while Sterling Lockert in his first race at Crystal Springs was only two seconds off the previous LMU school record on this course and set a new freshman record in the meantime. With a team total of 54 points LMU once again established themselves as an up and coming program, hot on Portland's heels. University of San Francisco finished in third with 71 points, Santa Clara in 4th with 78 points and Gonzaga University in fifth with 123 points.
The women defeated Portland for the first time in school history and while they were ultimately looking for their first team title, you cannot overlook their success as a whole. Freshman Sheree Shea took second overall and was honored with WCC Freshman of the year for her stellar performance. She crossed the line in 21:11 for the 6k course; over a difficult hilly terrain, Shea ran her second fastest 6k of her first collegiate season. Steady sophomore studettes Cassandra Salazar and Brieanna Delaney came in next for the Lions, finishing 11th and 12th overall in 22:03 and 23:09. After a slow start, they continued to push through the tough course and work their way up through the pack of runners to finish in the top fifteen overall. Junior Cynthia Chaidez followed in suit placing 13th overall in 22:18, while senior Brooke Lademan provided a steady presence throughout the jumbled race finishing 14th overall in 22:20. Freshman Caroline Draper had a strong race placing 24th overall, breaking 23 minutes for the 6k course finishing in 22:45. Finally sophomore Megan Fairley rounded out the Lion's top seven placing 38th overall in 23:13.
For the first time in school history, the Lion's defeated the Portland women to take second overall with 52 points. Even with their top five runners finishing in the top fifteen overall it was still a bittersweet day to finish only seven points behind University of San Francisco. After a rough start the LMU women had to make up a lot of ground on a difficult and hilly course, where you could barely distinguish what jersey was which only 10 feet ahead of you through the fog. Coach Scott Guerrero commented, "It was a tough race, San Francisco just really came out with their guns blazing, they ran a great tactical race and we were just not able to catch them." However the Lion's performance today still proved that they could race through adversity and pack up as a team. After today, they will be hungry for success at Regionals ready to defend their ranking.
Coach Scott Guerrero said, "We had a very successful day, with our top five on both the men's and women's side in the top fifteen for the first time in school history it shows we still ran really well. We also walked away with another freshman of the year in Sheree Shea while Sterling Lockert was equally deserving."
The Lion's will have a week off before they travel to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the west Regional Championship.
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