Sept. 24, 2004
By Maria Judnick
Re-published with permission from the Los Angeles Loyolan
(as appeared in the Los Angeles Loyolan, Sept. 22, 2004)
Los Angeles -- At the 60th annual San Diego State Aztec Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 18, the LMU cross country team revealed its potential as it faced other Division I and Top 15 schools in the nation. In what head coach Scott Guerrero called a "terrific team effort," the men took home fourth place while the women earned eighth place. Both teams improved their times dramatically, emphasizing their determination to do well this year.
On the men's side, junior Adam Bacon once again led the team to a top 20 finish among Division I runners. With a time of 26:59, Bacon smashed through his previous best time of 28:29. Guerrero noted, "Adam has been really focused this year. He got in good summer training which is the base of everything we work on during the season. As a team we have really hit the ground running this year, no pun intended."
Sophomore Drew Haberkorn finished in 39th place and his time of 27:36 was a huge improvement from his previous best time of 29.21. The "three-four-five" runners for the Lions were, senior Bernie Ochoa, freshman Lino Alameda, and junior Kenny Arehart who all came in within five seconds of each other.
"Lino really helped lead the way. He brought the pack along and shut down the competition," Guerrero stated. Freshman Jonathan Macneil and sophomore Rey Barrera helped the Lions to their fourth place finish.
The women's cross-country team proved to its competitors that they should be taken seriously as well. The team's time of 101:15 decimated their previous best of 105:29 at this course. Guerrero was pleased with the results.
"The women right now are a really tight group. To take off four minutes on the team time is outrageous. That's a ton of time. It speaks to their depth." Even more impressive was the team gap--the difference between the times of the first and the fifth LMU runners--of 25 seconds, the second smallest gap on any course in the Lions program history.
Senior Maria Degitz led the way for the Lions, finishing in the Top 50 overall with an even time of 20:00. Freshman Laura Mickelson finished next with an impressive time of 20:12. Rounding out the top 60 competitors were sophomore Kristen Gonzalez, senior Trinity Amalfitano and sophomore Heather Rosas.
Coach Guerrero was pleased by the performance on account of the hard week of training leading up to the meet. "We went into the meet fatigued from practice, especially on Thursday, and it was the best effort yet. It was really much better than I expected."
The competition was fierce at the meet, with Duke University, a top 15 school, running against other strong cross-country teams such as the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. It was also the first year in Guerrero's tenure that LMU competed in the more challenging Invitational level of the meet rather than the open division.
"It's nice to be competitive in the division. It wasn't even close for some teams we beat. We had no real doubts that we would beat them and it is always a good day to beat Pepperdine, the team we all love to hate," said Guerrero.
Next week, the team travels to the Stanford Invitational, where the Lions take on the returning National Champions Stanford, and other Division I rivals on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m.
- GO LIONS -