Sept. 27, 1999
LOS ANGELES - Eric Peterson's UCLA women's cross country team, preseason rated No. 20 in the U. S. will send a 'B' squad to compete on Saturday (Oct. 2) at the Stanford Invitational, held on the Stanford Golf Course. The Bruin 'B' team will compete in the Women's Open Division, a 5000m course starting at 3:45 p.m.
Running for the Bruins at Stanford will be--senior Melinda George, junior Gina Donnelly, sophomores, Alynda Franco, Melissa Peralta, Bridget Hatch and Jaclyn Nolan, freshman Stefani Clark and senior Jessica Matthews or junior Peggy Hall.
Bob Larsen's Bruin men's squad will not be competing this weekend. Looking ahead, the UCLA women will send a 'B' team to the Arizona State Invitational on Friday, Oct. 8. Then on Saturday, Oct. 9, both the Bruin women's and men's varsity squads will compete at the Long Beach State Invitational. Held at El Dorado Park, the course for the Long Beach State Invite will be the same course used for the upcoming 1999 Pacific-10 Championship, on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Last Saturday (Sept. 25), the Bruin women's and men's varsity teams competed at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis on the Lee Bolstad Golf Course. The Griak Invite hosted the top women's and men's collegiate cross country teams from around the nation. In all, over 210 teams (NCAA Div. I-II-III, NAIA and high school) with over 2,000 runners competed in six races.
In the women's Div. I 5000m race, the UCLA women placed sixth with 206 points. The winning team (out of 25) was No. 16 Arizona State (53 points), followed by No. 1 Brigham Young (second-place, 73), No. 23 Minnesota (third-place, 165), No. 18 Missouri (fourth-place, 178), unranked Nebraska (fifth-place, 190) and No. 20 UCLA in sixth place (206).
Individually, the Bruin women were led by junior Kelly Cohn, who placed seventh with a time of 17:53. UCLA also had two other runners finish in the Top 30--sophomore Elaine Canchola (26th, 18:22) and junior Katie Nuanes (28th, 18:23). Other UCLA finishers included-senior Melinda George (70th, 18:59), sophomore Alynda Franco (75th, 19:03), junior Gina Donnelly (114th, 19:42) and freshman Stefani Clark (125th, 19:51). The Bruins were without seniors, Christina Bowen (back injury) and Kara Barnard (allergies) and sophomore Kate Vermeulen. Vermeulen, a transfer from West Virginia who last season won the NCAA Indoor mile, was competing in her first race for the Bruins at the Griak Invitational, but had to withdraw during the competition because of tendinitis in her right knee.
"Not to long ago, if we had been in a race like the Griak and had lost three of our top runners, we would not have been a factor in the team scoring," said Peterson, in his sixth season as the UCLA women's head coach. "But with our current depth, we were still able to beat some very good teams, like No. 15 Northern Arizona (seventh-place), No. 10 Providence (ninth-place) and No. 17 Boston College (11th-place).
"I was very pleased with the races of Kelly (Cohn) and Alynda (Franco)," he said. "Our top seven runners ran very hard and we were still able to stay in the thick of the team race."
Going into the men's Div. I race, the Bruins, unranked, were hoping to finish in the top-half of the team standings and that's exactly what the UCLA men's team did, placing 12th (331 points, out of 28 teams). UCLA was only six points out of 10th place (Duke, 325). The winning men's team was No. 5 Wisconsin (86 points), followed by No. 27 Brigham Young (second-place, 133), No. 6 Northern Arizona (third-place, 143), No. 9 Oregon (fourth-place, 172) and No. 19 Weber State (fifth-place, 197).
The Bruin men over the 8000m course were led by two runners in the Top 40--sophomore Bryan Green placed 35th (25:21) and senior Will Bernaldo, running in his first race of the season, was 37th (25:23). Other UCLA finishers included--senior Dan Brecht (68th, 25:48), junior Mason Moore (80th, 25:55), senior Matt Pitts (111th, 26:16), junior Scott Abbott (132nd, 26:32) and freshman Justin Patananan (146th, 26:44). The Bruins were without senior Paul Muite, a top runner from last season.
"The guys really ran well," said Bob Larsen, in his 21st season as the UCLA men's coach who is retiring at the end of the 1999-2000 season. "Bryan (Green) and Will (Bernaldo) had outstanding races and ran personal-bests. There were more ranked teams in this year's field and we performed better than last year (UCLA men were 14th last season)." At the Griak, UCLA beat No. 15 Butler (13th-place), No. 13 Minnesota (14th- place) and No. 25 Iowa (19th-place).