On Saturday (Oct. 19), UCLA CC Teams At Two Sites -- Bruin Women At Pre-NCAA Meet at Indiana State/Bruin Men At Cal Poly-SLO

Oct. 14, 2002

Eric Peterson's UCLA cross country teams will split up Saturday (Oct. 19) and compete at two sites. The Bruin women, rated No. 17 in the U. S., will compete in the NCAA Preview Meet at Indiana State in Terre Haute, IN and the Bruin men will run in the Cal-Poly Invitational at San Luis Obispo.

Bruin Women
The NCAA Preview Meet will attract the nation's top teams to the same course that will host the 2002 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 25. Twenty-five of the nation's Top 30 ranked teams will compete in the women's division, including No. 1 BYU, No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 Michigan State. The two women's seeded 6000m races (8 a.m. and 8:35 a.m. PT) will be run on the LaVern Gibson Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute.

The Bruin women are looking to make the NCAA field for the fourth time in the last five years. There are automatic and at-large berths to the upcoming NCAA Championships and a strong showing at Saturday's meet would help a team get an at-large berth (along with a good performance at upcoming conference and NCAA Regional qualifying races; for UCLA, the Pac-10 meet will be Nov. 2 at the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena, around the Rose Bowl and the NCAA West Regional Qualifying is at Stanford on Nov. 16).

Running for the Bruin women will be - juniors, Lena Nilsson (Vallentuna, Sweden), Melissa McBain (Thousand Oaks HS) and Valeries Flores (San Pedro HS); sophomores, Alejandra Barrientos (Felton/San Lorenzo Valley), Lori Mann (Coto de Caza/Santa Margarita Catholic), Carmen Winant (Philadelphia, PA/Germantown Friends), and Carolyn Shea (Waterville, ME HS); along with freshmen, Jenna Timinsky (Encinitas/ San Dieguito Academy), Allison Hall (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and Sarah West (Davis HS). UCLA's top seven runners will compete for the Bruins in the team championship and three runners will race in the women's 6000m open race (9:30 a.m. PT).

This will be Nilsson's first cross country race of the season. She had an outstanding track campaign last summer -winning the 800m/1500m at Sweden's National Championships, setting school records in the 800m (2:02.26) and 1500m (4:09.89) and winning the 1500m at the NCAA Outdoor.UCLA will also send a women's 'B' team to the meet at Cal Poly-SLO. Running for UCLA will be juniors, Tiffany Burgess (Van Nuys/Birmingham HS) and Jessica Marr (Hayward HS), along with freshmen, Laura Muller (Woodland HS), Leslie Barrie (Torrance HS), Jenny Esser (Pleasanton/Foothill HS), Maribeth Buche (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS) and Ashley Allen (Pleasant Hill/College Park HS).

Last week (Oct. 12 at the UC San Diego Triton Classic), the Bruin women placed first in the team standings and were led by Flores, who placed 11th overall on the 6000m course in a time of 22:30.3. UCLA had four runners finish in the Top 20.

'We're very excited to have Flores back in the mix and representing the team at a high level,' said Peterson, in his ninth year coaching the Bruin women. 'It looks as though our depth is strengthening, with Flores, West, Hall and McBain continuing to run at a strong level.'

Bruin Men
UCLA's men will run at the Cal Poly-SLO Invitational. The men's 8000m race, held on campus, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the women's 5000m event, the Bruins will send a women's 'B' team, will start at 10 a.m.

Running for the Bruin men will be - senior Phil Young (La Canada HS); sophomores, Ben Aragon (Santee/West Hills HS), Jon Rankin (Spring Valley/Monte Vista HS), Erik Emilsson (Bjarred, Sweden), Puneet Mahan (Norwalk HS), Nick Thornton (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) and Reggie Oronoz (Pasadena/Loyola HS); along with freshmen, Martell Mungia (Sacramento/Woodcreek HS) and Nick De Felice (Sacramento/Jesuit HS).

Last week (Oct. 12 at the UC San Diego Triton Classic), the Bruin men also won the team title and were led by Aragon. He placed second overall on the 8000m course and was the top collegiate finisher (24:58.1). The Bruins had four runners in the Top 20.

'Ben ran a very solid race,' said Peterson, in his third season coaching both the Bruin men and women's teams. 'He laid off the pace early and finished in a flurry. He closed the gap on the leaders and quite easily was the top placing collegian. I was very pleased with the team victory, since we did not run well at the Stanford Invite on Sept. 28. We wanted to gain confidence going into some of the bigger meets we have ahead of us.'

Looking Ahead
On Oct. 25, the Bruins will run in the CS Fullerton Invitational and on Nov. 2, UCLA will serve as the host school for the 2002 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, at the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena (around the Rose Bowl).

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