Aug. 31, 2007
Junior Laef Barnes and the UCLA men's cross country team opened up the 2007 season with a bang on Friday night as they captured the Nevada Twilight Cross Country Classic team title. Behind Barnes' first-place finish (19:40) the men easily won the meet with a score of 17 points. UC Riverside was second with 51 points, Humboldt State was third with 85 points and Sacramento State finished fourth with 98 points.
Barnes was just one of seven men to finish in the top-10 and 11 to finish in the top-20.
"We know that our men's team is both talented and deep and today was evidence of the quality of the depth of our team," said head coach Eric Peterson. "Having seven athletes place in the top-10 today and two of those athletes being true freshmen is really encouraging for our program. It is great to see Laef emerge today as the leader of our team. He and Drew (SHackleton) did a good job controlling the race from the front during the second half of the competition. Laef took the race in a sprint and it's going to be a good boost for his confidence. It's a great way to start the season for him.
"I'm encouraged by the fact that we are giving a lot of guys in our lineup some valuable experience that will help our team down the road in bigger invitationals and in the post-season. We're not only going to be strong up front with the return of Austin Ramos, Mike Haddan, Kyle Shackleton and Henry Hagenbuch as seniors, but we have some gusy who are capable of running with them. It's a very positive indication of the potential for this team."
Also finishing in the top-10 were Drew Shackleton (2nd, 19:41), Alex Crabill (4th, 19:55), Jake Matthews (5th, 20:03), Evan Watchempino (8th, 20:15), Marco Anzures (9th, 20:20) and Kent Morikawa (10th, 20:25).
Other Bruin results - Marlon Patterson (12th, 20:36), Spencer Knight (16th, 20:47), Dylan Knight (16th, 20:47), Danny Benson (20th, 20:55), Fawad Khan (23rd, 21:12), Marc Hausmaninger (27th, 21:15), June Riechl (28th, 28:31) and Blake Ramos (34th, 22:10).
The Bruins will return to altitude training camp for the next few weeks before continuing the season at the Pepperdine Invitational on September 22.