Women take 3rd, Men 7th at the Stanford Invitational
LMU Women capture a top finish placing 3rd overall while men break into top ten for the first time placing 7th
Sept. 26, 2009
Los Angeles, CA - One of the auras of the Stanford Invitational is the chance to not only compete against the best, but also for the chance to be the best. This Saturday amidst the heat, crowds, and big names, LMU emerged as a team to beat.
The men, who have never broke into the top ten, placed seventh overall led by Senior Brian McDonald, who finished 14th in 24:38 for the 8k course. McDonald's top fifteen finish not only led the Lion's to their best finish in school history, but also put him in the mix with some of the best runners in the nation. Freshman Sterling Lockert had a breakout race, running second for the Lions and finishing 37th overall over the grassy 8k course. In only his second collegiate race ever, Lockert, was the fastest freshman in LMU history running 25:14 on Stanford's 8k course. Sophomore Thomas Finnigan raced like a veteran moving up throughout the race to finish in 25:23 and 46th overall. Senior Daniel LaCava and Junior Connor Pastoor battled through a crowded pack of runners to finish in 25:52 and 25:55 rounding out the Lion's scoring top five. Close behind, Junior Scott Donahue finished in 26:03 while Freshman Tyre Johnson 26:36, Greg Innes 26:54, and Junior Michael Herrera 27:00 also turned in good performances for the Lions.
The men who before today had never broke into the top ten, placing only 18th in 2008 and 12th in 2007 came to Stanford this morning determined to improve. This determination paid off; over the same course last year the Lion's top runner finished in 26:00--this year the top five LMU men were all under 26:00 with McDonald under 25:00 for the 8k distance. In a challenging field, the Lions were able to test their limits and get a sense of far they could go--from an 18th place finish last year, to their 7th place finish this year, it would seem that they have all the potential in the world. Coach Scott Guerrero commented, "The men really pushed through a tough field. Our top five were all under 26:00 where as last year our number one guy finished in 26:00--to improve that much and break into the top ten is a great feeling."
The women had a breakthrough day placing third overall, proving that they were not only worthy of their preseason ranking but determined to be better than most expected. The Lions edged out 8th ranked UC Davis by two points to finish third behind Stanford ranked 3rd in the west and University of California Berkley 7th. The women's third place finish is not only the highest team finish in school history at the Stanford Invitational but they also finished ahead of UC Davis, Sac State, USC and UC Irvine, all who were ranked ahead of them in the preseason regional ranking.
Freshman Sheree Shea once again led the lady Lions finishing 14th in a time of 21:06 the fastest 6k time by an LMU freshman. From the start of the race, she went out with the top pack in sight and kept them within striking distance to finish in the top fifteen. Running second for the Lions, Junior Cynthia Chaidez continued to push her limits and kept gaining ground throughout the race to close the gap between Shea and the Lion's top pack. Her efforts earned her a 27th place finish clocking 21:46 for 6k. Only two seconds behind Chaidez in 21:48 sophomore Cassandra Salazar, turned in another stellar performance for the Lions placing 31st overall while Brooke Lademan showed great momentum throughout the race and finished 39th overall in 22:00. Sophomore Brieanna Delaney 22:14 and Megan Fairley 22:27 also turned in noteworthy finishes for the Lions and battled through a competitive string of runners to place 48th and 61st respectably. In her second collegiate race, freshman Caroline Draper finished in 22:55 rounding out the Lion's top seven. Also for the racing well for the lions, were sophomore Marissa Diehl finished in 23:33 and freshman Jessica Mumaugh 24:11.
The course follows multiple loops throughout the Stanford golf course, and on a hot day like today, it takes a true competitive drive and focus to do well. Junior Cynthia Chaidez said, "We came into it with our mind set that we wanted to do well. It was hard, but we really pushed through." Today the Lady Lions showed that they had the mental drive and desire to be one of the best as they worked together throughout the race to push each other and continually gain on the competition. Their top-three finish is evidence that LMU not only wants to be the best, but also has the drive and talent to push to that next level.
The Lions' A squad will have the next two weekends off before travelling to Fayetteville, Arkansas on October 17 for the Chile Pepper Invitational.
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