Both Squads Picked to Finish Second in WCC, Women Garner First-Place Vote

Aug. 6, 2009

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount University men's and women's cross country teams were both chosen by the West Coast Conference coaches to finish second in the conference this year, right where they left off at the end of last season. The University of Portland squads were unanimous selections to repeat as conference champions again in 2009, earning the maximum 49 points. On the women's side, LMU garnered one first-place vote for a total of 42 points, while placing two runners on the Preseason All-Conference team in defending conference champion, Tara Erdmann, and the reigning WCC Freshman of the Year, Brieanna Delaney. The men claimed 40 total points, sharing the second-place spot with San Francisco, which received the only other first-place vote. The Lion men placed three runners on the Preseason All-Conference team in Phillip Benavides, Brian McDonald, and Connor Pastoor, who all ran on the team that lost to Portland by 10 points in the WCC Championships, making it the closest race in conference history.

The Pilots have won the men's race 30 consecutive years, the longest active streak for any cross country program in the country. Last season, Portland tied its program high with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships and return three runners from that team in Al Kipchumba, who finished 18th in that race, Tommy Betterbed, and Matt Frerker. Kipchumba and Betterbed are joined on the Preseason All-Conference team by Andy Edick and Colin Harris. The Don men will also look for leadership from Ganbileg Bor, the 2008 WCC Freshman of the Year and runner-up at the conference championships.

The Portand women have been just as dominant as the men, winning 19 of the 24 conference titles. It returns some of the top finishers in last year's WCC Championships in Dana Morgan (2nd) and Natalie Hemphill (5th), who join Lyndy Davis on the preseason all-conference team.

The San Francisco women took third place with 37 points, while the Bronco men and women finished in fourth with 31 and 32 points respectively. The Dons return Laurel Kleiber, who gained All-WCC honorable mention last year and was named to the Preseason All-Conference team. The Santa Clara men and women return 2008 All-WCC members Robbie Reid and Stephanie Wilson, both named to the Preseason All-Conference team.

On the men's side Gonzaga took fifth with 23 points, followed by Pepperdine in sixth with 20, while San Diego (11 points) edged out Saint Mary's (10) to round out the poll. On the women's side, Pepperdine (20 points), led by Preseason All-Conference team member Chelsea Wishard, who finished third at last year's championships, just beat out Gonzaga, which had 19. San Diego, which returns Preseason All-Conference member Liz Ramos, finished in seventh with 18 points, while Saint Mary's closed out the poll with seven points.

This year's WCC Cross Country Championships will once again be held at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont, Calif. on October 31, 2009.

Men's XC Poll
1. POR - 49 (7)
2. LMU - 40
2. USF -- 40 (1)
4. SCU - 31
5. GON - 23
6. PEP - 20
7. USD - 11
8. SMC - 10

Men's XC Preseason All-Conference Team
Phillip Benavides, LMU
Tommy Betterbed, POR
Ganbileg Bor, USF
Andy Edick, POR
Alex Harkins, SCU
Collin Harris, POR
Al Kipchumba, POR
Brian McDonald, LMU
Conner Pastoor, LMU
Robbie Reid, SCU

Women's XC Poll
1. POR - 49 (7)
2. LMU - 42 (1)
3. USF - 37
4. SCU - 32
5. PEP - 20
6. GON - 19
7. USD - 18
8. SMC - 7

Women's XC Preseason All-Conference Team
Lyndy Davis, POR
Brieanna Delaney, LMU
Tara Erdmann, LMU
Natalie Hemphill, POR
Laurel Kleiber, USF
Lauren Lodge, PEP
Dana Morgan, POR
Liz Ramos, USD
Stephanie Wilson, SCU
Chelsea Wishard, PEP





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