Seven men's and seven women’s LMU cross country runners toed the line at the Titan Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. on Friday night to earn a spot on the WCC Championship men’s and women’s teams. In the last regular season meet before both teams enter their championship segment of their season, there was one spot on the men’s side and one on the women’s side remaining to complete the post season teams. Freshmen Holly LaPlante and Simeon Paul were the first Lions in the men’s 8K and women’s 5K races to cross the finish line and earning those coveted spots on the WCC team.
LaPlante was fourth amongst Division I competitors and finished in a time of 18:30.23. Her time was a career best by 35 seconds and ranks her as a top 20 freshman in LMU history over the 5K distance. Juniors Danielle Nunez (18:49.39) and Elena Garcia (18:51.35) followed LaPlante for the Lions. For Nunez, she also ran a career best by 8 seconds for 5K. Freshman Gaby Guerrero (18:58.89) and junior Johanna Apelryd (19:50.18) also ran career bests by 56 and 88 seconds respectively. Freshmen Courtney Gelmini and Kiele Hensel rounded out the competitors for the Lion women.
Freshman Simeon Paul finished first amongst the Lion men to earn his spot on the WCC Championship team. Paul was also the top Division I finisher. Paul’s time of 24:54.35 is a personal best by nearly 30 seconds and is now the fifth fastest freshman time over 8K in LMU history. Not far behind Paul, junior Ben Davis (24:58.98) broke the 25-minute barrier and set a personal best for the 8K. Freshman Joseph Garcia (25:01.72) and Kyle Friedler (25:29.45) also ran career best by 53 and 47 seconds. Junior Brian Joerger (25:03.53) was third for the Lions.
In addition to the current Lion men, an unprecedented 13 LMU cross country and track & field alumni participated in the race. Leading the way, John Pickhaver ran 25:18.59. He was the top American at the most recent LA Marathon. Behind Pickhaver, Michael Duncan, Weston Strum and Grant Lapovich ran on the alumni team and had strong performances.
The Lions will travel to San Francisco for the WCC Championship race at USF next Friday, Oct. 27.
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