Cross Country Has Final Tune-Up Before Postseason (Weekly Release No. 5 - 10/12/00)

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The Loyola Marymount men's and women's cross country teams head to the Silicon Valley this Saturday, Oct. 14 for the Bronco Invitational, hosted by Santa Clara in Belmont, Calif. This is an important tune-up meet for the upcoming West Coast Conference Championships, which will be run on the same course in two weeks. The women's 5,000 meter race will begin at 2:00 p.m. before the men race an 8K at 2:45 p.m.

Last Week
The Lions took a break from collegiate competition last Saturday, Oct. 7 as they tested their endurance at the Hometown 10K in Manhattan Beach, Calif.. Senior Mark Siegfried highlighted a strong performance from the LMU contingent by winning the men's 18-23 age group in a time of 34:47, ninth overall, in a field of nearly 2,000 runners. No team results were kept at the Hometown 10K.

Lions Run to Top of the Pack in Manattan Beach
In addition to the aforementioned Siegfried, a number of Loyola Marymount racers appeared up to the challenge of running a longer distance last weekend. On the women's side Jenny Atkinson led Loyola Marymount for the sixth time this season with her 13th place finish of 41:14, second-best among 18-23 year olds. Right behind her with a 14th place effort of 41:22 was senior Traci Pantuso. The only runner who finished ahead of Atkinson and Pantuso in the 18-23 division was Malinalli Martinez, a four-year letterwinner for the Lions from 1996-1999. A total of 1,808 women competed in the Hometown 10K. In men's action LMU swept the top four spots in the 18-23 age group, with sophomore Warren Sutton - an accomplished marathon racer - placing 44th overall in 39:12. The next two finishers were also Lions - seniors Mark D'Amico (39:14) and Michael Cortez (39:15). Even Loyola Marymount Head Coach Scott Guerrero got into the act by placing 13th overall in a time of 35:59.

Looking Back at the Bronco Invitational
At the 1999 Bronco Invitational the Lion men placed fourth out of seven squads while the LMU women finished fourth in an eight-team field. Eddie Giron was the top Lion male at the Crystal Springs Course, crossing the finish line 14th overall in 28:34. Among returning Loyola Marymount women Traci Pantuso placed 20th in 21:14. The departed Malinalli Martinez notched one of the highlights of LMU's 1999 cross country season, winning Bronco Invitational at 18:13 and outrunning the second place finisher by 41 seconds.

1999 Season Review
The Lions showed marked improvement last season under Head Coach Scott Guerrero. The LMU women placed seventh at the West Coast Conference Championships, up one spot from 1998, and went on to a 26th place showing at the NCAA West Regionals in Portland, Ore. On the men's side, Loyola Marymount also placed seventh at the conference meet, and then finished 21st at the Regional meet. The Lion men excelled in the classroom as well as on the course as they earned the highest team GPA among all 17 intercollegiate sports at LMU. In addition, three Loyola Marmount racers -- current seniors Michael Cortez and Mark Siegfried and departed women's racer Bevin Steensen earned WCC All-Academic honors.

LMU Head Coach
Scott Guerrero is in his third year as the leader of the Lions. Guerrero, also a distance runner, brings change and enthusiasm to a program that has not had a top three finish in the WCC since 1991 for the men, and 1985 for the women. A 1990 graduate of Tulane University, Guerrero also earned a master's degree in education from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He will be assisted this season by Laura Cattivera White, a former Olympic Trials qualifier and All-American runner at Princeton.