Ready to Run
Lions gear up for 2006 West Coast Conference Cross Country Championship Saturday.
Oct. 26, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - Loyola Marymount cross country will compete in the first West Coast Conference Championship of the school year this Saturday, October 28. For the second straight season, Lions' All-Access will broadcast the league championship live and free of charge at www.LMULions.com.
Both the LMU men's and women's squads were predicted to finish second among the WCC programs in the preseason coaches' poll. Portland, which has won the race 27 straight years on the men's side and 16 of the last 21 years on the women's side, is once again picked to win the WCC team titles.
The men's 8K race begins the morning at 9:00 a.m., with the women's 6K beginning at 9:45 a.m. The 6K is a new distance for the women at the WCC Championship, who have run a 5K championship course the previous 21 seasons.
Crystal Springs Course in Belmont, Calif. will serve as the home to the WCC Championship for the 22nd season.
The LMU men are coming off a third place finish at the 2005 championship, the best finish for the Lion men in 15 seasons. They finished with 75 points, just four points behind second place San Francisco. The Lions were led by Lino Almeida, who became the top finishing male in LMU history with a fourth place finish in 25:48. As a result, Almeida earned an All-WCC first-team selection. This year, the Lions' redshirt will instead lend his talents to the airwaves as one of the broadcasters on the Lions' All-Access audio webcast of the event.
The number two finisher for the Lions in 2005, Barrera received All-WCC honorable mention recognition for his 14th place finish in 26:50. Barrera will run Saturday as the Lions' top returner.
The men's squad will keep a close eye on 11th-ranked Portland, who is looking to win its 28th straight WCC title. The Pilots are ranked fourth in the Western region. LMU also has an annual rivalry with San Francisco, posting tight finishes with the Dons the last two seasons. The Lions and the Dons share the second spot in the WCC preseason coaches' poll, setting up another battle for Saturday.
The Lion women finished second last year with 58 points, 27 points behind champion Portland. The second place finish was an all-time best for the LMU women's squad. Mickelson was LMU's top finisher in 2005, placing seventh in 18:23. Among the entire conference field for this year, Mickelson ranks fourth among returners, but currently boasts the fastest 6K time of the season by over a minute (20:22). She won three individual titles this season at the Cal State Fullerton Invitational, San Diego State Aztec Invitational, and the Cal Poly Invitational. The only two runners to top Mickelson all season were a pair of All-Americans from top-ranked Stanford at the Cardinal's Stanford Invitational. As a result, the Lions' junior earned WCC Runner of the Month honors for September.
Rezowalli was the Lions' number two finisher in 2005, taking eighth overall in 18:24. Both Rezowalli and Mickelson earned All-WCC first-team honors last season.
The Lions will also look for a boost from Gonzalez, who's fastest 6K time this season ranks her sixth among Saturday's participants (21:56).
The LMU women will also keep an eye out for Portland, which is looking for its fifth straight WCC title as the Western region's No.10 team. Also selected in the WCC's preseason top three, Santa Clara will run for the title behind last year's runner up Shannon Bell.
Head Coach Scott Guerrero, in his ninth season at the helm of the LMU program, was the 2005 WCC Women's Coach of the Year.
Be sure to tune in to the live Lions' All-Access broadcast Saturday as Guerrero and the Lions look to top last season's record success. Joining Almeida on the broadcast will be LMU cross country alumnus Andy Thompson (2001-2004). The pair will call all of the championship action and field your calls to check the status of teams or send well-wishes. The broadcast will also feature interviews throughout the morning. The audio webcast is free of charge after registering at www.LMULions.com. The Lions' All-Access broadcast will open with a pre-championship preview at 8:45 a.m. Saturday.
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