Lions Look To Make Program History Again in 2004
Head Coach Scott Guerrero expects
Aug. 20, 2004
Los Angeles, Calif. - Returning from a season that saw the Lions experience their most successful season in program history as measured by the team time performances on the West Coast Conference championship course in 2003, Head Coach Scott Guerrero is not shy about voicing his expectations for this year's cross country squad. "I will not be satisfied unless we have the best season ever in the history of cross country at LMU." Both the men and women's squads set new school team time records on the Crystal Springs championship course.
At the WCC Championships in 2003, the LMU men finished fourth overall in the team competition, representing the highest team finish since 1991 and the highest finish since the men began running the 8000m course in 1993. The men also set a new program record team time of 2:17:38, an average of 27:32 for the scoring five.
The 2003 women's squad finished fifth overall in the WCC, giving the program its highest team finish since 1990. The women also set a new program record team time of 97:22, an average of 19:28 for the scoring five. The women have been running the same 5000m championship course since 1985, with last year representing the first time in 19 years of championship history that the LMU women have run a team time under 100 minutes.
On the men's side, the team returns the top six runners from last year's record-setting squad, including all of the top five. Seniors Andrew Thompson, Bernie Ochoa, and Dan Judnick return as the most experienced varsity runners, with Thompson and Ochoa recording the second and fourth place LMU finishes at the conference contest. The Lions were led last season by junior Adam Bacon who looks to return at the top spot this year after running 15:22 on the track last spring. Returning juniors Kenny Arehart and David Steinhafel also recorded top-five finishes for the Lions last year.
Drew Haberkorn and Reynaldo Barrera return as sophomores with a season of college-level competition under their belt and will be looking to crack the top five in 2004. The Lions will add some depth to the squad with incoming freshmen and high school teammates Lino Almeida and Jonathan MacNeil. Almeida joins the Lions after a stellar distance career at Arcadia High School where he ran a personal best of 4:17.66 for the 1600m on the track last year.
Despite the strong performance of the 2003 women's squad, Guerrero expects the 2004 squad to be even better. The Lions return six of the top seven from last year's record-setting varsity squad, including senior captains Trinity Amalfitano and Maria Degitz who finished second and fifth for LMU in 2003. The 2003 squad was led by true freshman Kristen Gonzalez who returns to defend her number one spot.
Returning runners from last year's squad also include seniors Allison Bernardi, Rosa Ramirez, and Shannon Williams, juniors Lara Del Rio and Michelle Toapanta, and sophomores Melani Hom, Catherine Lima, and Katie Strachan. LMU anxiously awaits the return of Strachan, who led the Lions at the first meet of the 2003 season with a time of 20:04, but battled injuries throughout much of her rookie season.
With the core of the team returning, Guerrero adds twelve new faces to the women's squad. Newcomers will include:
Laura & Sara Mickelson: Top varsity runners and identical twins out of Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Calif., the Mickelson twins recorded top-15 finishes at the tough Bay League cross country championships and went on to run 5:06 and 5:15 respectively for 1600m on the track last spring. The Mickelsons will join their former high school teammate Melani Hom in competing for the Lions in 2004.
Ashley Narramore: An incoming freshman from Thousand Oaks, Calif., Narramore helped lead her La Reina High School team to a 13th place finish at the 2003 California State High School championships, shaving almost two minutes off of her time from the previous season.
Brittany Rezowalli: Rezowalli brings her times of 5:19 for 1600m and 10:59.6 for 3000m to the Lions in 2004.
Heather Rosas: A sophomore transfer from El Camino College, Rosas was the Southern California Regional Junior College Cross Country Champion in 2003.
Kelly Yahr: A top-15 finisher at the California State Championships, Yahr helped her team to the 2003 state team title.
Rounding out Guerrero's group for the 2004 season will be Nicole Boston, Kelly Frye, Alexandra Hybki, Megan Ritter, and Linelle Schultz.
The Lions, who report to campus next week before departing for their annual pre-season training camp in Mammoth Lakes, open their 2004 season on Saturday, September 4, at the Bronco Invitational hosted by WCC foe Santa Clara.
To visit the photo album from last season's training camp, click here.
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