The LMU men's and women's cross country teams began postseason racing as they competed at the WCC Championships at the Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland, Calif. on Friday morning.
The Lion women took third place in the Women’s 6K race, which is the team’s highest finish since 2014. The Lions were led by senior Danielle Shanahan who finished fourth overall with a time of 19:53.6. Freshman Alex Beitia followed Shanahan, finishing in 13th place with a time of 20:38.0. Beitia was the second-highest placing freshman and runner up in the Freshman of the Year race, which goes to the highest-placing freshman in the race. Junior Maddi Vorgitch finished 20th, running 21:08.0 - her highest finish ever at the conference meet.
“Having three women in the top-20 was a point of emphasis this week, and Dani, Alex and Maddi executed their plans,” Lions head coach Scott Guerrero said.
Sophomore Kyla Danforth ran a career best for 6K, finishing with a time of 21:22.9 - a little over a second faster than she’s run before. Danforth was 23rd overall in the race. Freshman Rosie Cruz broke into the top-five for the Lions for the first time in her short career placing 31st and running 21:56.3. Her time was also a career best by 13 seconds while also breaking the 22-minute barrier.
“Kyla and Rosie really stepped up today," Guerrero added. "Kyla really raced smart and it paid off for her. Rosie has not been in our top-five all year and today did that, which is encouraging. Our future is bright with two true freshmen in our top five.”
Sophomore Hannah Wohlenberg was one spot behind Cruz placing 32nd, and ran in the sixth position for the Lions. Wohlenberg ran 21:58.3, while junior Emily Hubert (22:15.5) rounded out the top seven in 39th place. Junior Giselle Masedo (22:36.8, 51st) and freshman Holly LaPlante (22:39.3, 52nd) rounded out the nine competitors for the LMU women. For LaPlante, it was a career best by 26 seconds.
The Lion men placed sixth in the Men’s 8K race. Junior Jack Polerecky was the first LMU runner to cross the finish line in 23rd place with a time of 24:31.6. Senior Patrick Gibson was next (24:54.5, 30th), followed by junior Koby Pederson (25:14.9, 38th). The race of the day came from freshman Simeon Paul who was fourth in for the Lions in 41st and running 25:24.9.
“Simeon was a top-five guy for us today and had to race his way onto the nine-person team last Friday at Titan by being the top finisher," Guerrero said. “Simeon is coming on at the right time of the year."
Rounding out the scoring five for the Lions, senior Christopher Fredlund ran 25:40.0, placing 49th. Junior Branden Estrada (25:55.7, 53rd), senior Harry Loasby (26:27.0, 63rd) and junior Joey Rodgers (27:10.6, 74th) completed the eight finishers in the race.
Postseason action continues for the Lions in two weeks when the squads travel to Seattle for the NCAA Division I West Regional Championships on Nov. 10.
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