Starting Line

Sept. 2, 2005

Los Angeles, Calif. - A familiar looking women's squad and almost entirely new men's team will take to the starting line this Saturday as Loyola Marymount sends its cross country program to the Fullerton Invitational to begin the 2005 campaign. The Lions will get things started at 8:30 a.m. at Craig Park.

All but three women on this year's squad boast collegiate running experience, as the Lions return two seniors in Michelle Toapanta and Lara Del Rio, five juniors including captain Melani Hom, and six sophomores. Eighth year Head Coach Scott Guerrero spent the 2004 season adding new talent, and now those six sophomores Claudia Bishop, Laura Mickelson, Sara Mickelson, Brittany Rezowalli, Megan Ritter, and Kelly Yahr, who brought talent to the program from the start, now have a year of competition under their belt. While Guerrero did add newcomers Alyssa Arias, Abigail Fall, and Caitlin Jennings, the main focus was on recruiting newcomers for the men's side.

Guerrero's efforts paid off, as eight newcomers will wear the LMU uniform beginning this weekend. The seven freshmen and one sophomore transfer will join a returning squad of one senior, two juniors, and two sophomores. The notable loss on the men's side is that of senior captain Adam Bacon, who was killed in a car accident on August 5, 2005, just weeks before he was to begin his final season. The Lions have dedicated this 2005 campaign to Bacon's memory and will keep him as their captain, along with junior Drew Haberkorn.

Sophomore Lino Almeida returns after leading the Lion men at the 2004 West Coast Conference Championship and the NCAA Regional (34:01). That 34:01 led LMU to a 10K team time of 171:21, earning the Lions a 20th place finish and the top LMU finish at the NCAA Regional in program history.

Four of the women's top five finishers at the 6000m NCAA Regional also return, with leader Del Rio (23:19), and now-sophomores Rezowalli (23:25), Laura Mickelson (23:30), and Bishop (23:40).

Close to 500 runners are expected to compete Saturday morning at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton in the Cal State Fullerton "Season Opener" Cross Country meet.

The meet begins at 8:30 a.m. with the men's 8K race. The women's 5K race begins at 9:15 a.m. Admission is free but there is a $5 parking fee.

Male and female runners are entered from the following schools and clubs: Biola, Cal Coast Track Club, Cal Poly Pomona, Cerritos College, Concordia University, Cal State Fullerton, Cuyamaca College, Golden West College, L.A. Trade Tech, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Mt. San Antonio College, Orange Coast College, Pepperdine, Run With Us, San Bernardino Valley College, San Diego Christian, Southern Utah, The Masters, UCLA, Univ. of San Diego, UC Riverside and Vanguard. Men only will be running from the Antelope Valley College, Team Saucony and Men of Troy. Women only will be running from Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Dominguez Hills, San Diego State and USC.

Results will be available at:


 

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