Aug. 30, 1999
LOS ANGELES - Eric Peterson's UCLA women's cross country team and Bob Larsen's Bruin men's squad open the 1999 collegiate season Saturday (Sept. 4) at the CS Fullerton Invitational.Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea is the site of the competition, with the men's 8K starting at 8:30 a.m. and the women's 5K beginning at 9:15. a.m.
Last fall, Peterson directed the Bruin women to the NCAA Championships, the first time since 1988 UCLA has qualified as a team. From that squad, UCLA returns all of their top runners and will be one of the best teams on the west coast and in the nation in 1999.
The Bruin women will enter 14 runners on Saturday, but two of their top performers, senior Christina Bowen (back injury) and sophomore Kate Vermeulen (summer school), will not compete. UCLA's top seven runners (in alphabetical order) will be--senior Kara Barnard, sophomore Elaine Canchola, junior Kelly Cohn, junior Gina Donnelly, sophomore Alynda Franco, senior Melinda George and junior Katie Nuanes. Among the newcomers, freshman Stefani Clark, from Salt Lake City, has been running well with the Bruin varsity.
"Even without two of our top runners, we have a chance of winning this meet," said Peterson, entering his sixth season as head coach of the Bruin women. "We have talented depth. We're entering a lot of runners to see how we are as a group and to see how our young athletes will compete."
Larsen is retiring at the end of the 1999-00 season. He will be entering his 21st and final year as the Bruin men's cross country coach and last spring was his 15th season as the UCLA men's head track and field coach. At the conclusion of the current cross country campaign, Larsen will serve as an assistant for the Bruin men's track team under new head coach Art Venegas.
The Bruin men return six of their seven top runners from last year's team that placed eighth at the Pac-10 and ninth at the Western Region qualifying meet.
UCLA will not run its top two runners at CS Fullerton, senior Will Bernaldo (summer school) and junior Paul Muite (conditioning). The Bruins will enter nine runners, including junior Scott Abbott, senior Dan Brecht, sophomore Martin Brix, sophomore Bryan Green, junior Mason Moore, freshman Justin Pantananan and senior Matt Pitts.
"This is an early season meet and it will give us a good indication of where we are following summer conditioning," Larsen said.
Following the CS Fullerton Invite, the Bruin women and men will travel to Mammoth Lakes for an 11-day training camp. There is no meet on Sept. 11. The next competition will be Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego.
1999 UCLA Schedule
Sept. 4-at CS Fullerton Invite, 18-at Aztec Invite (San Diego),
25- at Roy Griak Invite (Minneapolis, MN).
Oct. 2-at Stanford Invite, 8-at Arizona State Invite, 9-at Long Beach State Invite, 16-at NCAA Preview (Bloomington, IN), 30-at Pac-10 Champ. (USC Host School).
Nov. 13-at NCAA West Region (Portland, OR), 22-at NCAA Champ (Bloomington, IN).