Heading North for NCAA West Regionals
The Lions will travel north to Oregon for the NCAA West Regional Championships this Saturday
Nov. 11, 2010
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU Cross Country team will head up north to Eugene, Oregon this weekend for the NCAA West Regional Championships hosted by the University of Oregon on Saturday, November 11, 2010 at the Springfield Country club. The women's 6k race will go off at 9:25 a.m. while the men's 10,000m race will start at 10:25a.m. The Lions will be up against some of the top competition in the nation as once again, the West Region is home to some of the strongest distance programs in the nation.
Eugene, which has been dubbed the birthplace of running for its Nike foundations and famous Hayward Field will be the perfect stage for one of the most anticipated meets of the season. Here against a backdrop of changing leaves and historic roots teams and individuals from across the west region will be looking for a bid to the NCAA National Cross Country Championship November 22nd. The top two teams from each race will automatically qualify for the national championships in Terre Huate, Indiana, however with arguably the strongest region in the country, the competition will extend to more than just the top two teams to also earn a trip to NCAA's. The race will be held at the Springfield Country Club, one of Oregon's premier golf courses. Athletes will race entirely on grass and mostly on fairways as the course consists of three relatively flat loops throughout the grassy course.
For the women, redshirt Junior Tara Erdmann will be looking to once again earn an individual bid to the NCAA national championships in Terre Haute, Indiana. Coming off her second individual title at the West Coast Conference Championships on October 30th where she set the course record for the hilly 6k course, Erdmann will be looking for a top finish in Eugene. Erdmann also turned in a fourth place finish at NCAA Pre-Nationals earlier in October, again labeling her as one of the top contenders in Eugene. While Erdmann redshirted her Cross Country season last year, she became an All-American for the 10k in Track this past spring. Thus as one of the top distance runners in both Cross country and Track, Erdmann will be an athlete to watch for a top performance on Saturday. Also for the women, sophomore teammate Sheree Shea will be looking for a top overall finish. Shea who finished in the top 25 as a freshman in Eugene on the same course has improved throughout this season setting a personal record for the 6k just two weeks ago on the West Coast Conference Championship course at Crystal Springs.
As a team, the women are hoping that their combination of youth and experience from their top runners can put them into the top ten in the Region. They are currently ranked 13th overall in the west region and could improve this statistic on Saturday. Junior Brieanna Delaney and senior Cynthia Chaidez will both be looking for solid performances as upper-classmen who have had experience on this course and level of competition. Freshman Brittnie Munoz had a break out race at the WCC Championships coming in as the Lion's number three runner placing 16th overall and will be looking to finish off her freshman season with a bang. Also for the Lions sophomore Jessica Mumaugh who scored as the Lions number five runner could once again step up to have a big race. Finally freshman Alyssa Bellia has already recorded some fast times this season as a freshman, and on a flat, fast course could have a solid race.
For the men freshman star Weston Strum is coming off a top ten finish at WCC Championships leading the Lion's pack across the line. For this performance, Strum received All-Conference honors and will be a young, but strong leader in a big race for the Lions. Close in tow sophomore Sterling Lockert who had the top individual finish ever for the men at NCAA Regionals last year on this same course will be hoping for a strong finale to his season. The men have had a strong pack all season, which is especially important for a big race. Tyre Johnson and Drew Dalton have raced well together in the top five giving the Lions a close gap between Strum and Lockert. Finally with Senior Connor Pastoor, redshirt sophomore Philip Benavides and sophomore Greg Innes rounding out a solid top seven, the Lions will have the opportunity to have a strong team performance with their young team.
Once again the west region is arguably one of the most competitively loaded regions in the nation. For the men, Stanford has been ranked as the top team in the nation until recently last week Oklahoma edged into the top spot. The Oregon men have held the number three position while WCC rivals the Portland Pilots and Cal also have national rankings going into Saturday. On the women's side Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona all have top ten national rankings with Washington a big contender at number 11. Also notable from the west are Cal and WCC rivals San Francisco who earned their first national ranking at 27earlier this season as well. Overall it will be an anticipated day from teams across the west region.
Top regional teams for the men: Stanford, Oregon, Portland, Cal, UCLA, UC Davis, UCR, UCSB, San Francisco, Boise State, Long Beach State, Cal Poly, Arizona State, Washington State, Washington
Top regional teams for the women: Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Cal, San Francisco, UCLA, UCSB, Cal Poly, Arizona State, Portland, Idaho, LMU, Long Beach State, UCR
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