DAILY BREEZE: Mickelson Twins Ready to Run at WCC Meet

Oct. 28, 2005

At the start of the cross country season, every Loyola Marymount runner repeated the same mantra over and over: "The only race that matters is conference."

In a way, they're right. Cross country is not like other sports; most of the races are merely tuneups for conference, which qualifies teams and individuals for an NCAA Regional, which in turn puts them into the NCAA Championships.

The only race that matters kicks off Saturday for every Division I conference. For the LMU runners, this year's WCC Championships in Belmont could represent a chance to show the running world that the Lions are developing into a program to be reckoned with.

"I think we're definitely ready to contend for the championship," said LMU sophomore Sara Mickelson (Mira Costa High), who was just named the WCC Runner of the Month. "Portland is going to be really tough to go against, but we're going to do our best to stay up there with them. We have a few strategies we've been discussing. We're definitely prepared. We just need to go in and be confident. Hopefully everything will work out."

Sara and her twin sister, Laura, have led the LMU women all season, with one or the other finishing first among the Lions' runners in every race.

Unlike in the past, when Laura has traditionally run first and Sara second, things turned around when Sara finished the 6K course at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 24 in 22 minutes, 12 seconds, putting her one second ahead of Laura. Sara also finished ahead of Laura, 18:01 to 18:09, at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Invitational on Oct. 15.

"In the past we haven't been very equal but now that we have, it's more beneficial to have a teammate with you all the time," Laura said. "It's a lot better than running on your own. When we're out there together we're trying to do our best but we're feeding off each other. It's not sibling rivalry, it's working together as teammates."

As a team, the Lions' goal is to have the gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners be as small as possible.

For the LMU women, that objective has been reached so far. In the Lions' three 5K races this fall, the gap has gone down from 1:45 to 1:37 to 1:02.

"In the beginning of the season we had a pretty (big) gap between the first and fifth runners," Sara Mickelson said. "But this last race we brought our gap down to one minute. It shows that we've worked really, really hard. We're really ready to go into this race. We know we can get second, but we want to get first. We know we can have that small of a gap. We've definitely fulfilled that goal."

The LMU men have done likewise, with a season-best gap of 54 seconds at Stanford.

While the Lions' top runners on the men's side don't hail from the South Bay, freshman Trevor Wiseman (West Torrance) has made the travel squad.

Joining the Mickelson sisters from the South Bay ranks is junior Heather Rosas (San Pedro, El Camino College), while junior Melani Horn (Mira Costa) is listed as an alternate for the race.

They will be opposed by one former South Bay runner in St. Mary's junior Deanna Price (Bishop Montgomery), who has returned to form after redshirting last season due to an injury.




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