Oct. 25, 2007
The men's and women's cross country teams will head to Corvallis, OR this Saturday for the Pac-10 Championships, the first meet of the post-season. The men's race begins at 9:30 am with the women's to follow at 10:30 am.
The men, currently ranked 19th in the country, are primed for one of their best finishes in recent history after an impressive 2007 campaign thus far. This year's competition features the No. 1 team in the country, Oregon, as well as No. 8 California, No. 15 Stanford and No. 25 Arizona State. It will be quite a battle to determine who comes away with this year's crown, and the Bruins look to be right in the mix this season.
"The guys have been training extremely well since the Pre-National Invite and all of the athletes have adequately recovered since then and we're going into this meet with very high hopes for a strong team finish," said head coach Eric Peterson. "Oregon ran very well early in the year at the Bill Dellinger Invite and they are the favorite to win. We also know that Cal, Stanford and Arizona State are also very strong teams. We are ready to post a high finish and put ourselves in good position to be an automatic qualifier for NCAA's."
Competing for the men this weekend are - seniors Austin Ramos, Kyle Shackleton, and Henry Hagenbuch; juniors Drew Shackleton and Laef Barnes; sophomores Marlon Patterson, Marco Anzures, Alex Crabill, and Jake Matthews; and freshman Kent Morikawa.
UCLA will send a small team of six women to Pac-10's with the goal of finishing fifth as a team. Stanford, ranked No. 1 in the country, is favored to win, while No. 5 Arizona State and No. 9 Washington will look to also vie for the title.
This weekend also gives the women a chance to help build UCLA's lead in the Lexus Gauntlet competition with USC. Five points are up for grabs as the highest finishing team between UCLA and USC will pick up points toward the Gauntlet Trophy.
"We will be competing a small team of six athletes led by Claire (Rethmeier) and Shannon (Murakami)," noted Peterson. "They have been very aggressive in practice and obviously we are looking for a greatly improved team showing. We felt all season long that we are a mid-pack team in the conference. We are going to do the best we can to beat as many teams as we can and finish in at least fifth-place this Saturday."
Competing in Oregon will be - senior Claire Rethmeier; juniors Olga Aulet-Leon, Lauren Jirges and Ciara Viehweg; and freshman Shannon Murakami. Charlotte Gauchan, who just recently joined the team, will also compete for UCLA this weekend.