Cross Country to Compete in Arkansas Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival

Oct. 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - This weekend the men's and women's Cross Country teams will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the 21st annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival hosted by the University of Arkansas. The men will run a 10k at 9:45 a.m. while the women will compete on a 6k course at 10:30 am.

Last year was the first year that the Lions travelled to this race. As LMU continues to improve their regional standings and looks to develop a national caliber program, this invitational gives LMU the chance to face tough competition outside the West Region. LMU will face national powerhouse, University of Arkansas, who is ranked 25th Nationally for the men and 3rd in the South Central Region for the women.

In the past, the Chile Pepper Cross Country festival has drawn high caliber teams for a respectable and competitive venue. At last year's festival, Texas Tech, Louisiana State University, Baylor, Texas A&M, Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma were some of the top competition. Against this competition, in 2008, the LMU men finished 10th out of 30 teams while the women finished 11th out of 39 teams.

Coach Scott Guerrero said, "The Chile Pepper Festival is not only a fun invitational to participate in, but it also is a change of scenery in terms of the competition and the racing environment."

The LMU men will once again be looking to senior Brian McDonald, who last year ran 31:47 on this course, to be a top finisher overall. Freshman Sterling Lockert will now have raced three 8k's in his first collegiate season and with experience at this collegiate distance under his belt and will have potential to once again be a top scorer for the Lions. The LMU men will also rely on a strong pack with Junior Connor Pastoor, Scott Donahue, and Thomas Finnigan all who will have a competitive advantage of having run the course last year. Finally Senior Daniel LaCava who graduated from University of Arkansas has potential to perform for the Lions on familiar turf as well as wild card freshman Greg Innes who has been showing great improvement throughout the season.



For the women, last year LMU travelled a very young squad out to this meet. Megan Fairley, Brieanna Delaney, Marissa Diehl and Brooke Lademan all competed on the course last year turning in strong performances for the Lions and return to this course with gained experience. The Lion's will also be looking to standout freshman Sheree Shea to turn in a top performance against ranked competition, as well as the consistency of Cassandra Salazar, leadership of Junior Cynthia Chaidez, and steady improvement from freshman Caroline Draper. However, the true test for the LMU women will come from their ability to once again race as a tight pack to knock off the top teams.

Scott Guerrero commented, "Chile Pepper is a great meet, as always we are looking to improve from what we did before, and I really think that we have the talent to compete with these teams and do well."

The Lions will race in the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival this Saturday October 17th. This is the last race that the varsity squad will race before the conference championships in Belmont, CA on October 31st.



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