LMU Among the Best in the West

Nov. 4, 2005

Los Angeles, Calif. - On the heels of the program's best West Coast Conference Cross Country Championship finish in Loyola Marymount history, the Lions have achieved another first: a regional ranking. The LMU women are ranked 10th in the west region in the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches' Association's (WICCCA) final poll before the NCAA Regional meet on November 12.

The 10th place regional ranking is the first for Loyola Marymount cross country, which is nearing the conclusion of a storied season under WCC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year Scott Guerrero. In his eighth season with the Lions, Guerrero took a squad that was predicted to finish fifth in the WCC to second place at last weekend's WCC Championship.

The second place team finish was the highest finish in LMU history. Previously, the 1985 squad held the best finish in LMU's WCC Championship history when it finished third.

Saturday's finish also marked the lowest LMU team score ever, as the Lions finished with 58 points, besting the previous mark of 71 set in that 1985 season. It was LMU's fastest team time (93:35), fastest team average (18:43), and season-best gap (0:49). The women have run the same 5000m course since the WCC begin sponsoring a championship for women in 1985, thus making the 2005 race the 21st annual appearance by the Lions on the Belmont course. The Lions' overall team time of 93:35 represents the fifth-fastest overall team time for any school in conference championship history.

Sophomores Laura Mickelson (seventh in 18:23), Brittany Rezowalli (eighth in 18:24), and Sara Mickelson (ninth in 18:34) each finished in the top-10 Saturday to lead the Lions to the second place team finish. Each was named first-team All-WCC for her top-10 finish. This year's all-conference selections outnumber the combined total from all of Guerrero's previous seven seasons. Fellow sophomore Claudia Bishop (15th in 19:02) received WCC honorable mention recognition for her top-15 finish.

Graduating senior Lara Del Rio (19th in 19:12) was the Lions' fifth finisher. With junior Heather Rosas (19:15) crossing the line in 20th place, LMU put six finishers in the top-20 for the first time in school history.

What makes the regional ranking even more meaningful for the Lions is that Guerrero has built a regionally-ranked cross country program without having a corresponding official track program in the spring. While the Lions participate in spring track events, LMU does not offer track as an officially-sanctioned NCAA sport. LMU is the only school in the current rankings without a track program.

The Lions join WCC Champion Portland in the west's top-10 in the current regional rankings. The two teams, along with other competitive programs in the west, will meet again at the November 12 NCAA Regional meet in Palo Alto, Calif.





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