Oct. 27, 2007
BELMONT, Calif. - LMU cross country had an impressive showing at the WCC Championship on Saturday in Belmont, Calif., with the men finishing in second place with a team score of 59 points for only the second time in LMU history (1981) and senior Laura Mickelson claiming a second-place finish on the women's side to lead LMU to a third-place overall finish. Head coach Scott Guerrero earned co-WCC Coach of the Year honors on the men's side, sharing the accolade with Portland's Rob Conner.
Junior Trevor Wiseman set an LMU WCC Championship record with an 8k time of 25:30 to capture fifth place overall and lead the Lions to the finish. Loyola Marymount ran a team time of 129:16, equating to a five-man average of 25:52, over the course. In the 15-year history of the WCC Championship at Crystal Springs, the only other school to average less than 26 minutes over the distance has been the University of Portland. Junior Lino Almeida finished second for the Lions in 25:36, good for eighth overall in the race. Sophomore Brian McDonald (11th place in 25:42), senior Jonathan MacNeil (16th overall in 26:09) and junior Sean Sisk (19th overall in 26:19) rounded out the scoring five for LMU. Freshman Scott Donahue (21st overall) and senior Mo Elmi (28th overall) completed the 8k course in 26:24 and 26:44, respectively.
Wiseman, Almeida and McDonald each ran under the LMU old course record (25:48) set by Almeida in 2005 as a sophomore. In addition, all seven Lion runners are now in the LMU top-10 all-time on the Crystal Springs course. Wiseman and Almeida's fifth and eighth place finishes mark the first time in Guerrero's ten-year tenure that two runners on the male squad finished in the top-10 at the WCC Championship to earn All-WCC honors. McDonald's 11th place finish earned him All-WCC Honorable Mention recognition.
Serving as the only Lion freshman competing on the men's side, Donahue turned in a fantastic performance as the seventh runner for the LMU men. Filling in for sophomore Cameron Pagett, who has a sprained ankle, Donahue ran a 26:24 to break the freshman record set by Almeida in 2004 of 26:58. Commenting on Donahue's performance, Guerrero said, "Scott really ran a phenomenal race in a stacked field. His performance was very impressive among some outstanding runners."
Mickelson, last year's WCC Champion, led the pack of Lions on the women's side with a time of 20:56 to finish second in this year's race. Portland's Dana Morgan took the top spot in 20:32 to claim this year's title. Freshman Tara Erdmann placed fifth overall in a time of 21:26 to finish second for the Lions. Erdmann's time was very close to that of Mickelson's 21:16 to win the race last year, a testament to the improvement and success of WCC cross country from year-to-year. In addition, Erdmann was the first freshman to cross the finish line, thus claiming WCC Freshman of the Year honors. The award is the first of its kind under Guerrero's tutelage and the first in LMU cross country history. Junior Abby Fall finished the race in 22:06 to claim 15th place overall, while senior Brittany Rezowalli (20th overall in 22:30) and sophomore Annie Holden (26th overall in 23:00) rounded out the scoring five for the Lions to give LMU the third-place finish. Freshman Brenn Donnelly (31st overall) and junior Ahnie Draper (37th overall) finished the race in 23:47 and 24:14, respectively.
2007 marks the third year in a row that the LMU women have placed multiple runners in the top-10, and the third year in a row that LMU has placed among the top-three teams overall. "This conference is getting better and better and I have always said that I would be content if I could get to the point that we are finishing year after year in the top-three. It was a very tough race out there today with some very tough competition. Both schools finishing ahead of us (on the women's side) entered the race with a Regional ranking."
LMU's 6k team average of 22:00 (team time of 109:58) was its best-ever average on any course. The previous record of 22:01 was set earlier this year at the Stanford Invitational, and according to Guerrero, "Crystal Springs is a much tougher course."
Although Portland did claim the team victory for the 29th consecutive year on the men's side and sixth straight on the women's, San Francisco's Cheyne Inman did manage to break the string of 28 straight Portland runners finishing first overall on the men's side, dating back to 1979. Inman turned in a time of 25:20 to edge the second-place Portland runner, Zuber Ahmed, at 25:25. Inman becomes the first non-Pilot student-athlete to break the tape since Rudy Munoz of former WCC member Nevada-Reno crossed the finish line at 33:58 in 1978. Mike Delaurenti led Santa Clara to a third place team finish, capturing third place with a time of 25:27, marking the fastest 8K time for a Bronco harrier in WCC Championship history. San Francisco, paced by Inman's program-record time, took fourth place with a team score of 105, while Pepperdine was led to a fifth place showing by the 10th place finish of senior Chris Ogle, who notched a time of 25:39. Saint Mary's snagged the sixth place spot with 172 points, as junior Mario Mendoza finished 12th with a time of 25:44, setting an SMC program-best 8k time at the WCC Championship. Gonzaga and San Diego rounded out the men's team standings in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Four Pilot runners posted top-10 finishes on the women's side, as Portland stormed to its 18th WCC title with a team score of 33. After Morgan and Mickelson, junior Sifrash Ademe notched a third place finish with a 21:17 mark, while senior Bobeya Krishnek (seventh overall in 21:40) and freshman Paige Pattillo (ninth overall in 21:49) rounded out the Pilots in the top-10. San Francisco captured a second place finish for the second straight season with a program-record 43 team points. Five Don harriers placed among the top-12 finishers, led by senior Jennifer Hartford's fourth place time of 21:18. Santa Clara freshman Melissa Conlin took eighth place with a 21:48 mark, leading the Broncos to a fourth place team finish with 83 points. Pepperdine posted a score of 153 to finish in fifth place, and Gonzaga nabbed the sixth place spot with team score of 192. San Diego and Saint Mary's rounded out the women's standings in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
For the third straight season, Lions' All-Access carried the action of the WCC Championship live on its audio webcast. Fans from around the WCC tuned in to follow the title run. LMU cross country will continue its postseason run on November 10 at the NCAA Regional. The Lions will head to Eugene, Ore. to participate in the event.