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Cross Country To Begin Season At Chico Invitational

Sept. 7, 2007

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This Week In Cross Country: The Saint Mary's cross country team will begin its 2007 season this weekend at the Chico Invitational. The meet is scheduled for Saturday, September 8 at the Forebay Aquatic Center in Oroville, CA. The men's 8k race will begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by the women's 6k at 9:15.

The Competition: Saint Mary's will be tested early at the Chico Invitational with some of the top programs in the state. Division II powerhouse Chico State will host the meet, the Wildcats finished fourth in the nation on the men's side while the women placed ninth. Pac-10 perennial power Stanford will compete and so will UC Davis, who is competing in its first season in the Big West Conference.

Last Year Recap: Head coach Randy Rau returns his top women's runner in senior Karrie Hagedorn. The Salem, OR native became the first Gael to compete in the NCAA Regionals since 2002. Hagedorn finished 17th overall at the WCC Championships and led SMC to a sixth place finish. On the men's side, David Stiles returns for his junior campaign. Stiles led the Gaels at the WCC Championships and posted a personal best 28:40 at the Willamette Invite.

New Look Harriers: On both teams, Saint Mary's will boast a new look as coach Rau welcomes eight newcomers to the trail. The newcomers include: Jade Lewis (Modesto, CA), Tess Grannemann (Hoquiam, WA), Madison Dengler (Ft. Collins, CO), and Alex Bettencourt (Kingsburg, CA) on the women's side. For the men, Rau welcomes Nick Shea (Carmel, CA), Mark Blucher (Salinas, CA), Bradley Alban (Thousand Oaks, CA), and UC Davis transfer Mario Mendoza (Cambria, CA).

A Look at SMC Head Coach Randy Rau: Randy Rau enters his ninth season as the head men's and women's cross country coach. In his first season at the helm he was named WCC Coach of the Year. Under his tutelage, runners have earned four All-WCC selections, a Freshman of the Year honoree and five honorable mention accolades. Individually, both the men and women's school records have been shattered. Members of his men's team have posted 29 of the 30 fastest times in the history of the program. Last season Karrie Hagedorn made the NCAA West Regionals as an individual.

Next Week: Saint Mary's will travel to San Diego to compete in the Aztec Invitational. The meet is slated for Saturday, September 15 at Balboa Park with the first gun going off at 9 a.m.