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USF Cross Country Ready To Compete In WCC Championship

Oct. 25, 2007

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The USF men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the WCC Championship this Saturday at Crystal Springs in Belmont, CA starting with the men's 8,000 meter race at 9 am followed by the women's 6,000 meter race at 9:45 am.

Both teams are coming off school best performances last season at the WCC Championship where they finished second behind Portland. For the Portland men it was the 28th consecutive year as team champion.

Leading the men will be senior Cheyne Inman and junior Alex Nelson. Inman will be going for an unprecedented fourth straight All-WCC honor by finishing in the top ten. Last season Inman was eighth overall with a time of 26:05. Nelson, who set two school records during the spring track season, is coming off a tenth place finish at the Bronco Invitational two weekends ago while being the top Dons finisher. Last season at the WCC Championship Nelson earned All-WCC Honorable Mention by placing 12th with a time of 26:27.

Seniors Kenny Sparks and Ryan Courtwright, along with junior Jordan Zwick, redshirt freshman Byron Williams and freshman Ravi Amarawansa will also race for the Dons. Sparks and Courtwright both earned All-WCC First Team honors last season by finishing seventh and 10th respectively.

Portland, which is ranked #21 in the nation, will once again be the favorite to take the WCC crown, with a close competition for second between USF, Santa Clara and LMU.

"The conference has never been stronger," said Head Coach Helen Lehman-Winters. "Portland is once again the clear favorite and the second spot is up for grabs. We intend to be right in the thick of it."The women will be led by a strong group of seniors that will be looking to capture a WCC Cross Country Championship for the first time in program history. Leading the Dons, who are ranked 14th in the West Coast Region, will be senior Jennifer Hartford who earned All-WCC First Team Honors last season by finishing fifth overall with a time of 22:45, the second best finish in school history.

Also looking to finish in the top of the conference will be seniors Lucy Miller, Fallon Heffernan and Zita Mezei, along with junior Michelle Born. Miller finished seventh last season with a time of 23:08 and Born was 11th with a time of 23:16. Mezei and Heffernan, who both transferred to USF this past summer, have experience in Championship races and will look to earn All-WCC First Team Honors. Also competing for the women will be sophomore Mary Verran and freshman Nicole Bowler.

"Our women have trained very well over the last month," said Lehman-Winters. "We demonstrated two weeks ago at the Bronco Invite that we are capable of contending for the WCC title and we are looking forward to testing ourselves on Saturday."The favorite on the women's side will be Portland, which is currently ranked sixth in the West Coast Region, along with USF, LMU and Santa Clara.

For complete results from the WCC Championships please check back at www.usfdons.com following the meet on Saturday. For directions to the Championship course please click on the link above.

After the WCC Championships the Dons will begin to focus on the NCAA Regional meet which is November 10 in Springfield, OR.