UCLA To Run At Titan Cross Country Invitational Friday

Oct. 21, 2002

Eric Peterson's UCLA women and men's cross country teams on Friday (Oct. 25) will run in the 2002 Titan Cross Country Invitational. Hosted by CS Fullerton, the women's 5000m (4:30 p.m.) and men's 8000m (5 p.m.) races will be held at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea.

Bruin Women

UCLA's women this week are rated No. 19 in the nation. Running for the Bruins on Friday will be juniors, Tiffany Burgess (Van Nuys/Birmingham HS), Valerie Flores (San Pedro HS) and Jessica Marr (Hayward HS), sophomore Carolyn Shea (Waterville, ME HS) and freshmen, Ashley Allen (Pleasant Hill/College Park), Leslie Barrie (Torrance HS), Maribeth Buche (Yorba Linda/Esperanza), Jenny Esser (Pleasanton/Foothill HS) and Laura Muller (Woodland HS).

Last Saturday (Oct. 19), the Bruin varsity ran at the NCAA Preview Meet in Terre Haute, IN and the UCLA 'B' squad competed at the Cal Poly-SLO Invite.

The NCAA Preview meet attracted the nation's top women and men's teams because the same course will host the upcoming 2002 NCAA Championships (the Bruin women are looking to qualify as a team for the fourth time in the last five years) on Nov. 25. At Terre Haute, UCLA placed ninth (out of 37 teams) in its seeded 6000m race with 296 points. No. 2 Stanford won the race with 57 points.

Individually, the Bruins were led by junior Lena Nilsson, who placed eighth over the 6000m course in a school record time of 20:28.2. It was Nilsson's first cross country race of the season after an outstanding 2002 summer/spring track campaign. In track in 2002, Nilsson won both the 800m/1500m races at Sweden's National Championships; set the school 800m (2:02.26)/1500m (4:09.89) records, won the 1500m title at the NCAA Outdoor and was named the Pac-10 Female T & F Athlete of the Year for winning the 800m/1500m races at the conference championship meet.

Also last Saturday, the Bruin women's 'B' team placed fourth at the Cal Poly-SLO Invite with 70 points. The winner of the women's team title was See Jane Run, with 49 points.

At San Luis Obispo, the Bruins were led by Burgess, who paced the Bruin women over the 5000m course in a time of 18:31, placing fifth overall and the fourth-highest collegian. After an outstanding 2002 track campaign, this was Burgess' first cross country race of the season (recovering from numerous foot ailments). In track last spring, Burgess in the 800m qualified for the U. S. and NCAA Outdoors, placed second at the Pac-10 and was the second-fastest Bruin ever at 800m (2:03.73).

Bruin Men

Running for the UCLA men's team on Friday will be - sophomores, Bryan Bauerle (Lakeside/West Hills HS), Lucas Crowley (San Jose/Archbishop Mitty), Reggie Oronoz (Pasadena/Loyola HS) and Nick Thornton (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) and freshmen, Nico Cueva (Escondido HS), Nick De Felice (Sacramento/Jesuit HS) and Mohamed Qazi.

Last Saturday (Oct. 19) at the Cal-Poly SLO Invite, the Bruin men's varsity won the team title with 39 points. UCLA was led by sophomore Ben Aragon, who placed third overall (the second collegian) over the 8000m course in a time of 26:22.3. In all, the Bruin men had three runners in the Top 10 - Aragon, sophomore Erik Emilsson (5th, 26:41.1) and freshman Martell Munguia (9th, 27:10.0) and two other runners in the Top 20 - sophomore Puneet Mahan (13th, 27:17.4) and senior Phil Young (20th, 27:43.2).

Looking Ahead

Several of UCLA's top varsity performers will not be running on Friday, but will train through the weekend, preparing for the upcoming 2002 Pacific-10 Cross Country Championships on Nov. 2. UCLA is the host school for the conference championships at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena (adjacent to the Rose Bowl). A 6000m gender combined 'B' race starts at 8:30 a.m. (for runners not competing in the women's and men's conference championship races), the Pac-10 Women's Championships (6000m) begins at 9:30 a.m. and the Pac-10 Men's Championships (8000m) starts at 10:30 a.m.

The race will feature some of the nation's top collegiate cross country teams and runners. In the women's division, according to this week's National Top 30, there are four Pac-10 teams rated - No. 2 Stanford, No. 17 Arizona State, No. 19 UCLA and No. 25 Washington, and in the men's division, there are three conference teams in the nation's Top 30 - No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Oregon, No. 22 Arizona State and Washington receiving votes.

Stanford won both the women's and men's team titles at the 2001 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships and the Cardinal returns both individual winners - women's champion Lauren Fleshman and men's winner's Grant Robinson.

Following the Pac-10 Championships, Stanford will host the NCAA West Regional Qualifying meet on Nov. 16 to decide what West Coast teams will advance to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, IN on Nov. 25.

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