Competing with the Best

Sept. 23, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU Cross Country team is gearing to travel to Northern California for the Stanford Invitational this Saturday, September 25, 2010 at the Stanford University Golf Course. The men are scheduled to run an 8k race at 10:50am and the women will run a 6k race at 11:30 am on Stanford's grassy, rolling course. The Lions will take two teams of ten runners from the men's and women's squad to travel north this weekend and put their best foot forward in a highly competitive invitational.


Last year at Stanford, the women had a breakout race placing third overall as a team and beating out numerous ranked squads. Without superstar Tara Erdmann, who won the invitational as an unattached runner, the LMU ladies took third edging out UC Davis by two points to finish behind powerhouse Stanford University and University of California Berkley. This year, the Lions will be looking for another breakout performance to see how they stack up against conference rivals San Francisco and other top West Region teams such as Cal and UC Davis.

This past weekend the LMU women took third at the UC Riverside Invitational, placing two runners in the top five with Tara Erdmann's individual win and Sheree Shea's fourth place finish. Brieanna Delaney also had a solid performance as the Lion's number three runner placing 21st overall. Freshmen Alyssa Bellia and Brittnie Munoz both had breakout races and might contribute to an X factor for the Lions in a competitive and deep field this coming weekend. The women will need to focus on a solid top five pack to place well in Stanford's competitive field and will be looking for contributions from veterans Cynthia Chaidez, Caroline Draper and Megan Fairley for a solid pack.

Last year the men broke into the top ten at Stanford for the first time in school history placing 7th overall with all top five runners under 26 minutes. The Lions have a very young but a talented team who has the potential take the men to the next level. This past weekend at UC Riverside, the men were led by junior Thomas Finnigan, who set a personal record on the course by almost 50 seconds. Finningan has consistently been in the Lion's top five throughout his career at LMU and is a key component to lead a young team. Following Finnigan the Lions had all freshmen and sophomores including Weston Strum, Tyre Johnson, Kevin Joerger Sterling Lockert and Drew Dalton in their top six. Additionally the Lions only had a 16 second gap between their 1-5 runners. With ambitions high and young talent, who knows how far the Lions could go this weekend in even a more competitive field, the strength of their pack can prevail.

This year the Stanford Invitational has lived up to its reputation, drawing some of the toughest competition in the nation. The Lions will face host Stanford University who is ranked 1st in the west region for the men and 3rd for the women. The men will also face top national powerhouse University of Arkansas who the women saw last weekend at the UC Riverside Invite. The men will see most of the other top 15 teams from the west region including Cal Poly #13, UCLA #5, Cal #7, UC Davis #8, and Long Beach State #14 in addition to UC Irvine, Chico State and conference opponents USF and Saint Mary's. The women who are ranked 9th regionally will also face a similar lineup and will see competition against Cal #6, UC Davis #7, USF #8, UCLA #10, Cal Poly #14 and Long Beach State #15. This Saturday will be good exposure to the regional field the Lions will face at the West Regional Championship in November hosted by Oregon.




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