LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men’s and women’s cross country teams will head to Sacramento to compete in the NCAA Inter-Regional Jamboree hosted by Sacramento State and the Sacramento Sports Commission. The event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 4, and will be held at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, the site of the 2013 NCAA West Region Cross Country Championships.
"We have had a great two weeks of training since The Mustang Challenge and I am looking forward to putting our full team out there and letting them roll,” coach Forest Braden said.
The men will start things off in an 8K race at 9:30 a.m., and then be followed by the women, who will compete on a 5K course at 10:30 a.m.
“Our ladies have a chip on their shoulders and are ready to prove just how good they are this season,” Braden added. “Our men will have targets on their back. I am looking forward to playing the role of favorite for a change and see how our guys respond. We must control the tempo of the race from the gun and set the tone for the race early on."
Teams that are regionally and nationally ranked will be competing on Friday. Five of the 14 participating men's teams are ranked regionally. Seven of the 19 competing women's teams are also ranked regionally - including Sacramento State, which is ranked 15th in the West Region, and San Francisco which is ranked 24th in the nation.
The cross country course layout will be on the Arcade Creek course using nine different holes following an outer and inner horseshoe design. The inner horseshoe can be cut out on the first loop of each course to configure 8,000m and 5,000m race distances. The course is very flat and almost all of the running is on well-maintained fairways. The outer and inner horseshoe configuration makes the course very spectator/coach-friendly and prevents any possible lapping of runners.
Both Bruin squads are coming off of impressive season debuts. UCLA easily claimed team titles at the Mustang Challenge held at Central Park in Santa Clarita on Sept. 21.
The women won, 20-51, with the UCLA top seven all finishing in the top 10. Redshirt junior Kelsey Smith won the 5K event in a time of 17:01.56.
Juniors Annie Mooney and Meghan Marvin will be making their season debut and SMU transfer Ashlee Powers will be making her UCLA debut as well. All three are expected to be major factors for the women this year.
The men won, 20-53, with Sophomore Sergey Sushchikh wining his season debut with a time of 24:50.11 on the 8K course. For their efforts, the men moved up to 12th in the USTFCCCA national rankings, its highest mark since 1998.
Senior Dustin Fay is making his season debut as are juniors Daniel Herrera and Chase Zukerman. Redshirt freshman Jonah Diaz is making his UCLA debut as well. All four are expected to be major contributors this season. 800m specialist Nick Hartle ran unattached at Mustang Challenge but will be running in uniform for the first time this season.
The Bruins will host its only meet of the season as it prepares for the UCLA Double Dual on Friday, Oct. 11. The women will host USC and the men will race the alumni and Cerritos Junior College.