Cross Country Welcomes Standout Class

July 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU men's cross country team welcomes seven new incoming freshmen for the 2010 season. With outstanding credentials, these youngsters not only add depth and fresh ambition, but they also have the potential immediately impact the team. From across California and even as far as Montana, the Lions will welcome Drew Dalton, Mike Evans, Henry Jordan, Weston Strum, Dan Smith, Kevin Joerger and RJ Larrieu to the bluff. While athletically talented, this class of runners are also well-rounded students and will continue to build on the overall caliber of LMU's program.

From Southern California, Drew Dalton of Vista Murrieta High School will be changing his colors to crimson and navy. This past year, Dalton topped off a successful cross country season with an 11th place finish at the State meet on Woodward park's 5k course, finishing in 15:32. With a long list of credentials including the Southern Section Individual CIF Champion, Dalton has also turned in some quick stats on the track, including a 9:05 for the 3200m. Dalton also led his team to a Distance Medley title at the Arcadia Invitational, posting a 4:11 split for the 1600m anchor leg. To close out his senior track season, Vista Murrieta high school won the Nike Outdoor Track Nationals team title. In addition to being a stellar athlete, Drew is also a standout student, being awarded All-Valley Scholar Athlete of the Year and was ASB Vice President.

Dalton will be joined by northern California standout, Weston Strum of Pioneer High School. Strum closed out his senior season with a personal record in every distance he raced and a 6th place finish at the State meet at Woodward Park in 15:24 for the 5k course. Throughout his senior season, Strum has proved to be quite the competitor, placing second at the prestigious Stanford Invitational and winning the Mt. Sac Invite in 15:30. On the track, Strum is no less of an opponent, winning the Central Coast Section 1600m Final in 4:12 and finishing second on an elite stage at the 3200m State Championships in 8:56.42. With this stellar performance, Strum joined a select group of high school runners to break 9:00minutes for the 3200m and currently holds the 13th fastest time in the nation at that distance. Strum topped off a successful season placing 7th overall at the New Balance National Championships hosted in North Carolina clocking a time of 8:59 for the 2-mile race.



Rounding out a top trio for LMU's freshman class is top California recruit, Kevin Joerger of Thousand Oaks. Joerger finished 17th at the State meet in 15:33 at Woodward Park and earlier in his cross country season won the DII Mt. Sac Varsity race in 15:19 under high school coach Shawn Morris. On the track, Joerger is an accomplished harrier, who along with Strum qualified for the ultra competitive State 3200m Championships, with a personal best of 9:07 at the Cerritos Masters meet. This past spring, Joerger also won the 5k race at the Camarillo Distance Classic in 15:25 on the track. Off the track and trails, Joerger is a standout student maintaining a 4.6 GPA and was Scholar Athlete of the Year.

The Lions will also welcome RJ Larrieu from Anaheim, CA who was named as a Top O.C. Runner to watch this past year. Larrieu not only turned in notable track performances, but also as a team captain and scholar athlete he helped Orange Lutheran to a second place team finish at league championships. Coming all the way from Montana, Mike Evans of Loyola Sacred Heart Catholic, qualified for the Montana State Championships in four events (800m, 1600m, 3200m and 4X400m relay) and will add to the frosh squad. Under high school coach Sean Ricketts, Dan Smith of Arroyo Grande will also add depth with experience as part of a Pac 7 League Championship team. Rounding out a deep class, Henry Jordan of Palo Alto High School helped his team to the State meet for the first time since 1990.

Head Coach Scott Guerrero said, "You know, last year we had a great incoming class and I said it was our best ever. Truthfully I didn't know if we would be able to surpass that for at least a couple more years but, there is no doubt that on paper this is our best incoming men's class in school history. Each year we are all about just trying to continue to improve and I think I can safely say that this class will certainly help us achieve that goal. All of these guys are highly successfully both academically and athletically, in addition to being quality guys of good character. We're very happy to have them join the Lion family."

This past year, the LMU men's Cross Country team came in second to long reigning WCC powerhouse, Portland at the West Coast Conference Championships. With less than a 30 second gap between their one through five runners, a new school record for the course, and their top five placing in the top 15, the Lions were hungry for success. Looking to 2010, the Lions have signed three guys who have run sub 9:10 for the 3200meters, each with a resume of credentials that make them some of the best distance runners in the state and arguably one of the strongest recruiting classes in the nation. LMU will return all but two of their varsity seven and with this infusion of young blood, the Lions will have one of the most talented teams in school history and nothing but potential on the road ahead.


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