Cross Country is Ready to Run

Aug. 27, 2003

With the newly created full-time head coaching position for cross country, Scott Guerrero looks to make great strides in his sixth season at the helm of the LMU program. The 2002 squad's sixth place team finish for both men and women at the WCC Championship meet equaled the highest LMU team finish in the last several years.

The 2002 Lions experienced their most successful season as measured by the team time performances on the WCC Championship course. Both the men and women set new school team time records in 2002.

On the 8000m course, the men's team ran a team time of 2:18:54 (an average of 27:47 per man for the scoring five). This represented an improvement of 73 seconds per man versus the program's previous record on the same course set by the 2000 squad.

The women's 5000m team time of 1:40:38 (20:08 average) eclipsed the previous course record set back in 1985.

The 2003 season opens on Saturday, August 30, with the Bronco Invitational. On the men's side, the team returns the top six runners from last year's record-setting squad. LMU also returns its number seven runner, although in a different capacity. Warren Sutton was the lone senior on the varsity squad last year and will begin his first year as assistant coach for the cross country program.

Juniors Bernie Ochoa and Andrew Thompson return as the most experienced runners and will lead the squad again this year. Ochoa led the Lions in virtually every meet last year and teamed with Thompson for the first and second place LMU finishes at the conference contest.

Sophomores Connor Stinson, Greg Corry and Kenny Arehart finished third, fourth, and fifth for LMU last year as freshmen and recorded times that were only :06 seconds apart. Adam Bacon and David Steinhafel are returning sophomores who will look to break into the top five. Though he was not a member of the varsity seven squad last year, Steinhafel tore up the track this spring running 1:57.11 for the 800m.

Add incoming freshmen walk-ons Reynaldo Barrera (Don Bosco Tech HS, Rosemead, CA) and Drew Haberkorn (Cedar City HS, Cedar City, UT) and Guerrero believes that the Lions have the makings of an excellent season where anything could happen.

Despite losing five of their top eight runners from last year, Guerrero believes the 2003 women's squad will still prove to be LMU's best. The incoming freshman class is headlined by Katie Strachan (Foothill HS, Tustin, CA) and Kristen Gonzalez (Bonita Vista HS, Chula Vista, CA). Strachan is a four-time all-league performer who ran 18:55 at the CA State Meet at Woodward Park in 2002 and 18:22 on the grueling Mt. SAC course. On the track, she has run 5:16 for the 1600m. Gonzalez is a three-time Mesa League Individual Cross Country Champion with track bests of 5:19 (1600m) and 4:54 (1500m.).

They will be joined by incoming freshmen Deborah Hom (Mira Costa HS, Manhattan Beach, CA), Catherine Lima (Bishop Amat, La Puente, CA) and Anne Marie Twining (Seattle Prep HS, Seattle, WA). Junior Alexis Gernhardt (Central Catholic HS, Lafayette, IN) will run her first season of cross country with the Lions after taking two years off following a high school career in Indiana.

Returning Lions include sophomore Lara Del Rio, the 2002 high school Florida State 1600m champion, as well as team captains Trinity Amalfitano and Maria Degitz, both of whom were sidelined with injuries in 2002.





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