Portland Barely Escapes the Wrath of the Lions.
LMU cross country makes history with closest second place finish in school and recent league history.
Nov. 1, 2008
Belmont, Calif - In a day that wasn't ideal for speed, LMU Cross country broke records with both teams placing second overall at the WCC Cross Country championships in Belmont, CA. The men completed a back-to-back second place finish, losing by only 10 points, 48-38, to the 4th nationally ranked team in the country, the Portland Pilots. The women also narrowly captured the team title, losing only by 5 to the 7th best team in the region, Portland. Sophomore Tara Erdmann captured LMU's only title of the day capturing the 2008 women's individual championship.
"This was by far the wettest championship that I've been part of. " 2008 Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year, Scott Guerrero said. "The course was muddy and slick so the times were not fast."
The men's race was the closet finish in league history. The lions broke the prior record set in 1985 when Portland edged out Santa Clara by 11 points. For the third time in school history, LMU Men's Cross Country finished with back-to-back second place finish and three top ten finishers and first team WCC honors. 48 points is the lowest team total ever for LMU with Portland's men receiving their highest score ever at 38. The Lions ran the second fastest team time in school history with an average of 26:33, right behind last year's top time of 25:51,
In his final WCC meet, Trevor Wiseman led the lions to his second consecutive 5th place finish. Wiseman finished the course with a time of 26:10 just ahead of teammate Brian McDonald. McDonald finished sixth overall with a time of 26:12. Freshman Phillip Benavides tied the freshman school record set last year by sophomore Scott Donahue. Benavides placed 7th overall with a time of 26:24. Red-shirt Freshman Connor Pastoor received honorable mention WCC by placing 12th with a time of 26:49. Barely missing out on the top 15 was freshman Thomas Finnigan with a time of 27:10 for 18th overall. Freshman Daman Coffman and sophomore Scott Donahue rounded out the top times for the Lions. The duo finished in 30th and 31st place with times of 27:19 and 27:35 respectively.
The women's race was the closest since 1991 when Portland edged out St. Mary's by 2 points. After finishing in the top three for four straight years, LMU women also achieved their lowest score in school history, 48, points, just surpassing their 2006 record of 51.
Tara Erdmann was the highlight of the Lions individual achievements today. The 2007 Freshman of the Year captured the women's title, the second LMU runner to capture the title in 3 years and fourth in school history. She pushed past Portland's Dana Morgan for a 21:54 finish. Freshman Brieanna Delaney also continued the tradition crossing the finish line in 22:22 for 8th overall and 2008 Freshman of the year honors. Right behind her was senior Abby Fall who came in at 22:29 for 9th overall. Freshman Stephanie Felix received honorable mention WCC after finishing in 22:44 for 14th overall. Fellow freshman Megan Fairley barely missed out on honorable mention finishing two places behind Felix at 22:53 for 16th overall. Junior Annie Holden and freshman Marissa Diehl rounded out the top times for the Lions. Diehl finished 26th overall in a time of 23:32 while Holden finished in 23:36 for 29th overall.
"This was the first time our freshmen have even seen the course but they ran like veterans. " Guerrero said. "The Portland women are currently ranked 7th in the west region so to come within 5 pts of beating them shows that we're peaking right on time and bodes well for the regional meet in two weeks."
The future holds a lot for LMU cross country as three of the top five finishers on both men's and women's teams were freshmen. Things are looking great for next year as LMU only looses one senior in the top 7 for both men and women's teams.
"I was really happy with how our kids ran. They definitely brought their 'A' game and I honestly don't think we could have asked anything more from them." Guerrero commented.
LMU will take next weekend off in order to prepare for the NCAA West Regional Championships in Palo Alto, CA on November 15th. The Lions will be double prepared as the have previously ran the same course at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 27th. Race Time begins for the regional at 11 a.m.
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