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Cross Country Heads South To Annual Aztec Invitational

Sept. 14, 2007

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This Week In Cross Country: The Saint Mary's cross country team will continue its 2007 season at the 63rd Annual Aztec Invitational at Balboa Park in San Diego. The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the 5K People's Race and will be followed by the Women's Open (5K) at 8:15 a.m. and the Women's Invitational at 9 a.m. After the women compete, the men will gather at the starting line for a pair of 8K races - the 9:30 a.m. Men's Open and the 10:15 a.m. Men's Invitational - to conclude the morning.

The Competition: Saint Mary's will go up against stiff competition for the second consecutive week. Schools highlighting the women's side are No. 4 Arkansas, UC Santa Barbara (No. 5 - West Region), Loyola Marymount (No. 15 - West), Northern Arizona (No. 8 - Mountain) and Southern Utah (No. 12 - Mountain).

Last Week Recap: The Gaels started the 2007 season in impressive fashion and set a footprint for a successful campaign. Both team finished in third place at the Chico State Invitational last week. Saint Mary's harriers Karrie Hagedorn and Tess Grannemann etched their names in the SMC record books.

Record Runners: Karrie Hagedorn continues to add to her stellar career at Saint Mary's by beginning the 2007 season fleet a foot. Hagedorn blistered the Lake Oroville Forebay Aquatic Center course last week by placing 10th overall with a 6k time of 22:50, which ranks sixth all-time at SMC. Tess Grannemann made a splash in her first collegiate race for SMC, placing 19th with a time 23:31. The time ranks eighth all-time.

Super Mario: UC Davis defector Mario Mendoza began his Gaels career on the right foot. The junior placed 24th overall on a tough 8k course with a time of 27:32. The time would have been the top mark from a year ago in just his first race.

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 paradise as they will compete at the Hawaii Invitational. The meet is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. on Saturday, September 22 from Kane'ohe Klipper Golf Course.