The Finish Line

Nov. 11, 2004

Los Angeles, Calif. - Loyola Marymount cross country will compete at the NCAA Regionals this Saturday in Fresno. The women return to the regional for the sixth time in seven seasons, while the men's squad makes its first NCAA appearance since 2000. The runners will begin the course at 9:00 a.m.

The squads become the first LMU sports to enter the NCAA postseason in the 2004-05 campaign.

"We have had several athletes compete as individuals, but very few complete teams from LMU have made the trip over the years," LMU Head Coach Scott Guerrero said. "The West Region is the deepest and most competitive of the nine regions across the country. We want to compete well and set a benchmark against which future LMU teams will measure themselves."

Prior to Guerrero joining the LMU program in 1998, only LMU's 1984 squad had entered the NCAA Regional field. The Lions' best finishes include the women's 15th place effort in 1984 and the men's 21st place performance in 1999.

LMU is coming off strong performances at the October 30 West Coast Conference Championship, with the men taking fourth and the women finishing sixth at the Crystal Springs Course in Belmont, Calif. Both squads were led by freshmen in Lino Almeida and Brittany Rezowalli.

Alemeida set a new program record for the course with his time of 26:58, breaking Rick Weis' (1996-1998) previous course record of 27:01 set in 1996. With an 18th place finish, Alemeida also led the Lions to a record team time for the course, as this year's 135:31 beat the previous record of 137:38 set last season.

Sophomores Drew Haberkorn (20th) and Reynaldo Barrera (22nd) and junior Adam Bacon (21st) followed Alemeida, all finishing in 27:07. Junior Kenny Arehart (26th) rounded out the scoring five for the men with a mark of 27:12.

With just four points separating third place through fifth place, the Lions took fourth with 107 team points. LMU finished ahead of San Francisco, San Diego, Saint Mary's, and Pepperdine. Portland won the men's side for the 26th straight season.

"Our men had a really big race," Head Coach Scott Guerrero said. "Things didn't quite turn out the way we had hoped, but I can't be unhappy when we set a new team course record and have a freshman break the LMU's all-time course record."

On the women's side, Rezowalli's time of 19:15 gave the Lions a top-15 finish. But the second place finish for the LMU women was not without controversy. Kristen Gonzalez, who paced the Lions at the 2003 WCC Championship with the same top time of 19:15, was set to be the second Lion finisher in this year's race. But the sophomore was disqualified at the finish line for impeding the progress of another runner.

"It wasn't intentional, but the rules are the rules," Guerrero said of Gonzalez' disqualification.

In addition to Rezowalli's top-15 finish, senior Trinity Amalfitano finished 20th in 19:24. Freshman Laura Mickelson (25th), senior Maria Degitz (34th), and freshman Claudia Bishop (36th) rounded out the scoring five for the Lions with times of 19:26, 19:38, and 19:43.

The Lions' team time of 97:26 left the Lions in sixth place, defeating Pepperdine and Saint Mary's. Portland led the women's side for the third straight year.

"Our women just about equaled LMU's record team time finish and placed three freshmen in our top five," Guerrero said. "I am definitely looking forward to making the next step with this young squad."

At this weekend's regionals, the men will enter Alemeida, Haberkorn, Bacon, Arehart, Thompson, and Jonathan Macneil. The LMU women are sending Rezowalli, Amalfitano, Laura Mickelson, Degitz, Bishop, Gonzalez, and Lara Del Rio.





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